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With a strong surge on the steep ramp to the finish in Pamukkale, Modolo passed Kolar just metres from the line to take his first 2015 win in stage 5 of the Tour of Turkey; Rebellin made the selection and extended his overall lead

Photo: OPQS / Tim de Waele

CCC DEVELOPMENT TEAM

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DAVIDE REBELLIN

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JAY MCCARTHY

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SACHA MODOLO

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TOUR OF TURKEY

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UAE TEAM EMIRATES

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30.04.2015 @ 18:31 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After a frustrating start to the year, Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) finally opened his account when he won the brutal uphill sprint on stage 5 of the Tour of Turkey. With a strong late surge, he managed to pass Michael Kolar (Tinkoff-Saxo) just metres from the line, winning the stage ahead of Carlos Barbero (Caja Rural) and Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff-Saxo). Davide Rebellin (CCC Sprandi) was on the right side of the splits in the finale and extended his overall lead over Kristijan Durasek (Lampre-Merida) to 22 seconds.

 

Last year Sacha Modolo had an amazing start to his first year at Lampre-Merida, taking several victories in the first few months before a crash at Paris-Roubaix stopped his string. This year the Italian had hoped for a similar beginning but until now nothing has gone according to plan for the fast Italian.

 

Modolo was unable to open his account in January and February and things turned sour when he crashed at Tirreno-Adriatico, missing Milan-Sanremo as a consequence. He didn’t have any success on the cobbles either and so he lined up in the Tour of Turkey determined to change his fortunes.

 

Modolo won a stage in the Turkish race as a young neo-pro and apparently he likes the sunny event which he uses to prepare for the Giro d’Italia. Today he was again first across the line in the race when he won stage 5 of the race in impressive fashion.

 

Yesterday Modolo had already been ambitious but a crash at the bottom of the final climb had taken him out of contention. Today he didn’t have the same kind of bad luck and he was still there when a mostly intact peloton sped towards the finish in Pamukkale.

 

Etixx-QuickStep took control of the peloton with 4km to go when Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, Iljo Keisse, Nikolas Maes, Fabio Sabatini, Tom Boonen, Mark Renshaw and Mark Cavendish lined out on the front. Meanwhile, the different trains were trying hard to get into position and Modolo always looked strong near the front.

 

With 3km to go, Keisse took over and he held off too Drapac riders who tried to pass him. However, they lost the battle with Orica-GreenEDGE when Adam Blythe and Magnus Cort hit the front.

 

However, they had lost their sprinter Caleb Wean in the carnage and so they had to slow down, allowing Maes to bring Etixx-QuickStep into the lead position. That’s when things started to unravel for the Belgian team when Davide Appollonio (Androni) took off as they hit the steep ramp to the finish with 1km to go.

 

Maximilano Richeze (Lampre-Merida) prepared Modolo’s sprint by bridging the gap before passing the Italian while Fabio Sabaini was struggling on the front of the peloton. Appollonio was brought back but Richeze had a big gap when Renshaw made the lead-out.

 

Boonen and Cavendish were unable to keep up with the Australian and instead it was Michal Kolar (Tinkoff-Saxo) who launched a long sprint. The Slovakian seemed to be at ease when he passed Richeze and put daylight into the rest of the peloton.

 

It looked like a win for Tinkoff-Saxo but suddenly Kolar started to fade. Behind, Modolo launched his sprint and he managed to pass the Slovakian just metres from the line, narrowly holding off Carlos Barbero and Jay McCarthy. Kolar had to settle for fourth.

 

The steep climb made the peloton explode to pieces but an attentive Davide Rebellin finished in the top 10. His nearest rival Kristijan Durasek was caught behind the splits and lost 15 seconds to his rival.

 

This means that Rebellin takes a 22-second lead over Durasek into the final summit finish of the race. Stage 6 has a mostly flat course but in the finale, the riders will tackle a category 3 climb before they hit the bottom of the tough 5km climb to the finish in Selcuk.

 

A lumpy stage

After the hilly fourth stage, it was another tricky day for the riders in the Tour of Turkey when they travelled over 159.9km from Mugla to Pamukkale. After a moderately hilly start, the riders tackled a category 2 and a category 3 climb in the middle section before they headed down a 40km to descent to the finish in Pamukkale where they tackled a small 800m ramp to the line.

 

As usual, the riders had great weather when they gathered in Mugla for the start but one prominent rider was absent. After winning yesterday’s stage, André Greipel (Lotto Soudal) had decided to head home to finalize his preparations for the Giro d’Italia.

 

An early break

The hilly course looked like one where a breakaway could make it to the finish and so it was no surprise that the race got off to a fast start with multiple attacks. After 9km of racing no one had managed to escape.

 

Before they reached the 15km mark, however, Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Frederik Veuchelen (Wanty) and Alessandro Bazzana (Unitedhealthcare) attacked and apparently the peloton was content with its composition. The bunch slowed down and after 22km of racing, the escapees already had an advantage of 4.35.

 

MTN-Qhubeka took control

The peloton showed no interest in initiating a chase and so the gap had gone out to 7.11 at the 40km mark. That was the signal for CCC to take control and as they went up the first uncategorized ascents, they managed to reduce their deficit to 4.51 after 61km of racing.

 

As they hit the first categorized climb, MTN-Qhubeka took over and they managed to reduce the gap to 4.13 as they passed the halfway point. At the bottom of the first climb, it was 3.20 and when De Gendt led Veuchelen and Bazzana over the top, it was 2.25. Juan Pablo Valencia (Colombia) attacked out of the peloton to take the final point on offer.

 

Caja Rural do some damage

Jay Thomson (MTN-Qhubeka) set a steady pace in the peloton to keep the gap stable between 2.00 and 2.30 in the flat section that led to the bottom of the final climb. Meanwhile, Bazzana won the intermediate sprint ahead of Veuchelen and De Gendt.

 

As soon as they started to climb, Caja Rural hit the front with Jose Goncalves, Eduard Prades and Fabricio Ferrari and they rode at a very fast pace, that sent several riders out the back door. In a matter of seconds, they brought the escapees back who had to surrender with 53km to go.

 

A strong break

As they hit a flat section at the midpoint of the climb, Caja Rural again slowed down and this opened the door for attacks. Damien Howson (Orica-GreenEDGE), Songezo Jim, Natnael Berhane (MTn-Qhubeka), Davide Appollonio (Androni), Frederic Brun (Bretagne), Fabricio Ferrari (Caja Rural), Ahmet Akdilek (Torku), Jef van Meirhaeghe (Topsport Vlaanderen) and Sean De Bie (Lotto Soudal) took off before Genki Yamamoto (Nippo) and Fernando Grijalba (Caja Rural) made an unsuccessful attempt to bridge the gap.

 

CCC were chasing hard behind the lead group but as they realized that there was no dangerous rider, they slowed down .Jim led Van Meirhaeghe and Appollonio over the top while the peloton followed 25 seconds behind.

 

The break is caught

Mark Cavendish had now survived the hardest part of the course and so he asked his teammates Iljo Keisse and Guillaume Van Keirsbulck to stat to chase They were joined by the CCC riders while Lluis Mas (Caja Rural) tried to bridge the gap. However, Unitedhealthcare also started to work with Alessandro Bazzana in the peloton and so the Spaniard quickly sat up.

 

As Tom Boonen also started to work, the break was doomed and with 35km to go it was all back together. This caused Etixx-QuickStep to slow down but Van Keirsbulck reacted quickly when Topsport and Torku briefly tried to go on the attack.

 

A hard-fought sprint

Nazim Bakirci (Torku) and Alessandro Bazzana (Unitedhealthcare) got clear and were joined by Jan Ghyselinck (Wanty) when 30km remained. However, Etixx-QuickStep and Bardiani quickly reacted and with 24km to go, it was again back together.

 

Unitedhealthcare now lined out Bazzana, Davide Frattini, Robert Förster, Ken Hanson and Federico Zurlo out on the front to prepare the Turkish Beauty Sprint and they went head to head with Topsport Vlaanderen in a big battle between the trains. However, sprints leader Mas turned out to be the strongest in the drag race with Hanson whil van Meirhaeghe took third.

 

Gruzdev gets clear

As the pace went down after the sprint, Dmitriy Gruzdev (Astana) took off but Van Keirsbulck, Bardiani and Sergey Grechyn (Torku) quickly brought him back. CCC also came to the fore and their fast pace made it impossible for anyone to escape.

 

Bardiani did the majority of the work as they powered down the final part of the descent and they even got some assistance from the Southeast team while the sprint teams fought hard for position. With 4km to go, Etixx-QuickStep took control but their efforts were unrewarded as it was Modolo who took the win.

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