Tour of Turkey: Aidis Kruopis sprints to stage two after massive final kilometre crash
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Monday, April 22, 2013

Tour of Turkey: Aidis Kruopis sprints to stage two after massive final kilometre crash

by Ben Atkins at 10:12 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
Few sprinters make it around as the Blanco sprint train derails the peloton

aidis kruopisAidis Kruopis (Orica-GreenEdge) won the second stage of the 2013 Presidential Tour of Turkey from Alanya, along the Mediterranean coast to Antalya, after he managed to avoid a massive pile up inside the final kilometre. The Lithuanian was able to get around the incident, which unfolded as Blanco Pro Cycling’s Mark Renshaw touched the wheel of teammate Graeme Brown ahead of him. The Lithuanian managed to overhaul Marco Coledan (Bardiani-CSF), who had been the first rider to make it around the crash, and sat up to take his first victory of the season.

“I saw a lot of riders around me falling down; it’s very sad,” said Kruopis afterwards. “But I managed to pass the guys. There were five guys before me and I started sprinting. I caught every one of them then I caught the last one.

Coledan just managed to hold off the attentions of André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol), who was seeking a victory for his Grandmother who had passed away earlier in the day. With race leader Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) one of those laying on the tarmac behind him, however, the Lotto-Belisol rider had the consolation of taking the turquoise jersey from his compatriot.

“Yesterday the team was working for Leigh Howard and today we worked for me,” Kruopis explained. “Leigh put me in a good position, he brought me to the top ten and I did my job. My form was not very good and I had bad luck in the Tour of Qatar and in Malaysia. I had hoped to perform much better. I was lucky that I didn’t crash but you also need some skills to avoid crashes. I was lucky but I was also strong.

“It will give me a lot of confidence to have beaten Greipel, one of the best sprinters in the world,” the Lithuanian added. “It means a lot to me and for my confidence. Now I will go for another sprint stage, maybe on the last day, and for the points jersey if I do well. I think about doing the Vuelta. I took a step forward this year and I hope I can make it to a Grand Tour.”

The 150.2km stage saw a break from Clément Koretzky (Bretagne-Séché), Fabricio Ferrari (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Piotr Gawronski (CCC Polsat Polkowice), Duber Quintero (Colombia), Junya Sano (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) and Ahmet Örken (Torku Seker Spor). The group escaped after just five kilometres and - pushed along by a coastal tailwind - managed to build up a lead of 6’20” in the first quarter of the stage, before being steadily reeled in by the sprinters’ teams.

Anthony Delaplace (Sojasun) and Koen Barbé (Crelan-Euphony) jumped across what was then a small gap inside the final 20km. Sano promptly attacked, with Delaplace and Quintero following, but the trio was caught with ten kilometres to go.

In the final five kilometres Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida) made a brief attempt to escape but, with so many teams working on the front, a sprint was inevitable. The Blanco team led into the final kilometre, but a touch of wheels between Brown, on the front, and Renshaw, in second wheel, brought most of the peloton to a shuddering halt.

Few riders managed to get around the incident, but Coledan was sprinting away to what he might have thought was a simple victory; the line was just too far away, however, and Kruopis was able to overtake him before he could reach it.

Reactions to follow

Six riders get away and the peloton refuses to close them down

After a flurry of unsuccessful attacks, Koretzky, Ferrari, Gawronski, Quintero, Sano and Örken managed to get away after five kilometres. Once the break had been established, the peloton collectively sat up and allowed the six riders to build an advantage of 6’20” by the 23.5km point.

Kittel’s Argos-Shimano team then took control and the gap fell slightly, before being allowed to settle at around 5’45” for some time.

Following the first intermediate sprint - in Manavgat, after 52km - which was taken by Koretzky, ahead of Sano and Gawronski, the peloton began to pick up speed. At 75km, at the stage’s halfway point, the group’s lead was down to 4’35”, and it continued to fall steadily.

Örken took the Turkish Beauties sprint, in Aspendos with 63km to go, ahead of Quintero and Koretzky, and the peloton followed them across the line 3’35” later. Lotto-Belisol had joined Argos-Shimano at the front of the peloton, with Blanco also moving forward,

With 51km to go the break’s lead dropped below two minutes, but there it froze as the sprinters’ teams eased up a little to avoid catching up too soon. At the 40km point the pace picked up a little more, cutting the gap to 1’40”, but it stopped there again as the strong teams continued to hold back.

All six riders in the break were working well together - with all of them rolling through to take their turns - but the inevitability of their capture meant that none of them were over committing themselves. Nevertheless, with Argos-Shimano and Lotto-Belisol still refusing to chase at 100%, the lead grew back up to 1’53” with 27km to go.

With 25km to go, however, Lotto-Belisol sent more men forward - along with some from Blanco - and the speed rose sharply; by the 20km to go point the Belgian team had slashed the gap to just 40 seconds.

With the peloton on their heels Korentzky jumped away from the rear of the breakaway group and set off alone. Behind him in the peloton Anthony Delaplace (Sojasun) and Koen Barbé (Crelan-Euphony) jumped away, and the peloton refused to react.

On the long, wide road the peloton had all of the groups in sight, and was continuing to close in on the leaders.

Steadily the rest of the breakaway reeled in Koretzky, with Ferrari shaking his head dismissively as the Frenchman rejoined his former companions. With 17km to go the six riders were joined by Delaplace and Barbé, and Sano attacked immediately; the rest of the group was on the Japanese rider’s wheel immediately, but he jumped again for a second time, although Koretzky decided to sit up and was soon absorbed by the peloton.

As Sano escaped again he was chased down by Delaplace and Quintero, but the rest allowed themselves to be caught by the peloton, which was now just 13 seconds behind. The three riders refused to be caught, however, and the peloton - in turn - refused to catch them.

Finally the break is over but the well drilled trains get derailed

With 14km to go the peloton was spread across the three-lane road as the teams at the front made every effort not to close down the three riders ahead. Delaplace was doing virtually all of the work in front, with the other two riders now unable to help after having been up the road all day, but the trio had just eight seconds on the peloton behind it.

Under the ten kilometre banner the three riders were still clear but, with two of them unable to contribute much, they sat up and were almost immediately absorbed by the peloton.

With the break now over several teams began to fight for control of the front of the peloton, with Europcar on the right side of the road and MTN-Qhubeka on the left. The French team moved into the centre, only for Omega Pharma-Quick Step to move up the right in its place; the three trains came together with seven kilometres to go, with Europcar at their head, but all of the sprinters’ teams were lurking behind the dark green train as it entered the outskirts of Antalya.

Lampre-Merida moved forward and allowed Pozzato to power off the front with five kilometres to go, but the former Italian champion was only able to move a few metres clear before being closed down again.

Blanco then took over the front of the peloton and, with Omega Pharma-Quick Step beside it, led around the last corner and into the final kilometre.

Suddenly though there was a massive crash at the head of the peloton, as Blanco’s Mark Renshaw touched teammate Graeme Brown’s wheel, and there were very few riders in front of it as several piled into the crash and came down themselves.

Coledan was left with a massive sprint and managed to hold out until the final hundred metres, but Kruopis came around the Italian and had plenty of time to sit up and celebrate the victory. The Bardiani-CSF rider just managed to hold off Greipel on the line to take second place.

Result stage 2
1. Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) Orica-GreenEdge
2. Marco Coledan (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox
3. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol
4. Sergiy Gretchyn (Ukr) Torku Seker Spor
5. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha Team
6. Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
7. Vicente Reynes (Spa) Lotto-Belisol
8. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida
9. Mateusz Nowak (Pol) CCC Polst-Polkowice
10. Filippo Fortin (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox

Standings after stage 2
1. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol
2. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano
3. Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) Orica-GreenEdge
4. Marco Coledan (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox @ 4s
5. Yuri Metlushenko (Ukr) Torku Seker Spor @ 6s
6. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida @ 10s
7. Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
8. Filippo Fortin (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox
9. Grzegorz Stepniak (Pol) CCC Polsat-Polkowice
10. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Crelan-Euphony


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