Tour of Turkey: Mustafa Sayar attacks into the lead in Selçuk on stage six
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Friday, April 26, 2013

Tour of Turkey: Mustafa Sayar attacks into the lead in Selçuk on stage six

by Ben Atkins at 9:43 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Presidential Tour of Turkey
Turkish rider poised to take the first home win for a decade after final climb attack

mustafa sayarMustafa Sayar (Torku Seker Spor) put himself into position to become the first home winner of the Presidential Tour of Turkey since 2003 as he took victory in the sixth stage, between Bodrum and the climb to the House of the Virgin Mary, above Selçuk. The Turkish rider attacked the rest of the race contenders in the final three kilometres of the steep climb to the finish, catching and passing Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), who had jumped away shortly before.

Edet was also caught and passed by Cofidis teammate Yoann Bagot, who was just unable to catch Sayar before the line; Bagot took second place, 18 seconds behind the Turkish winner, with Edet third after 23 seconds.

“It was a very long and hot stage,” said Sayar afterwards. “The road conditions were not very comfortable. I don't really like this kind of conditions.

“Until the last climb, the peloton rode at a really hard pace,” he explained. “There were lots of attacks and the pace kept increasing. My team-mates really helped me stay in the front positions. Then [Sergiy] Grechyn launched me in the last 20 kilometres. I decided to attack earlier because I knew the others had probably more finishing speed. And then in the last 100 metres, I looked behind and I saw nobody coming. I pushed as hard as I could until the finish line.”

Overnight race leader Natnael Berhane (Europcar) was unable to respond the the attacks of his rivals, and crossed the line 42 seconds behind Sayar, ceding his turquoise jersey to the Torku Seker Spor rider.

“My goal was to finish the Tour of Turkey in the top 3 and now I'm achieving even better since I'm in first place,” said Sayar. “It gives me more responsibilities. People's expectations will be higher than before. What I want is more success in this Tour and in the next competitions.”

The 182km stage saw a long breakaway from Aldo Ilesic (UnitedHealthcare) and Christian Delle Stelle (Bardiani-CSF), who escaped after 30km and - since there were only two of them - were allowed to get almost ten minutes clear in the first half of the stage. The duo was caught with 30km to go as the peloton accelerated towards the climbs at the end of the stage.

Several teams then tried to take control of the peloton, setting up their team leaders and quashing a number of attacks, but nobody was able to put Berhane in trouble until Edet managed to get clear with four kilometres to go.

A duo goes very long but the peloton is eyeing the final climb

After the usual flurry of attacks Ilesic and Delle Stelle managed to escape after 30km and, with the peloton finally relaxing, the duo was 9’50” ahead by the 70km point. Europcar calmly led the peloton behind them, and gradually the gap closed in the second half of the stage; into the final 60km Astana, with Sojasun and Cofidis moved up and it began to close more quickly.

The gap was still 6’58” at the intermediate sprint line at 58.2km, with Cofidis’ Gert Joeäär rolling over the line to take the single remaining point. At 50km it was down to 5’17”, however, and with the peloton now in full cry it was tumbling rapidly.

With 35km to go Omega Pharma-Quick Step came forward in force, taking the gap down to less than two minutes. The two leaders were visibly tiring now, with Ilesic taking time to stretch his back in between turns on the front. Sojasun then surged forward, lifting the pace even further; the breakaway was in sight on the long, straight roads and, as the cars were removed from behind them, Ilesic and Delle Stelle sat up with 30km to go and allowed themselves to be swept up.

A succession of teams then took turns to exchange the lead of the peloton, including Europcar, Orica-GreenEdge, Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Colombia, with the South Americans driving the bunch on to the foot of the 2nd category climb with 25km to go.

With 21km to go Kevin Peeters (Crelan-Euphony), Rafael Andriato (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia), Anthony Delaplace (Sojasun), but they were not able to stay ahead of the peloton for long. Berhane then punctured, but the pace of the peloton was not too quick and his Europcar team.

Sacha Modolo (Bardiani-CSF) then had his own turn at escaping, but the Italian was shut down in turn by Orica-GreenEdge, and the peloton was all together over the top of the climb, with Andriato sprinting for the points. Francisco Moreno (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) then attacked on the descent, but the Spanish rider was only able to dangle a few seconds in front of the peloton before Orica-GreenEdge swept him up too.

As the final climb approached the battle for the front began again, with Omega Pharma-Quick Step taking control as the peloton took a u-turn around a roundabout with eight kilometres to go.

Astana takes control on the climb but Torku Seker Spor finishes it off

Onto the climb it was Astana that took over, trying to put Berhane under pressure, but the Eritrean was sat comfortably on the wheel of Astana leader Kevin Seeldraeyers and the Kazakh team sat up. Points leader André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) then briefly took over the pacemaking on behalf of teammate Adam Hansen.

Mountains leader Sergiy Gretchyn (Torku Seker Spor) then surged forward, with teammate Mustafa Sayar in his wheel; with four kilometres to go the Ukrainian peeled off, leaving Sayar to take over and the pace dropped as the Turkish rider looked to the others to help.

With the speed of the bunch dropping Colbrelli, with Edet jumping past him. Pimenta tried to catch the French rider, passing Colbrelli while, behind them Sayar tried to put the pressure on Berhane again.

The attacks put Seeldraeyers in trouble, while Sayar caught and passed Edet up the road. Berhane was left to do the chasing from the group behind but, with two kilometres to go, the Turkish rider was 18 seconds clear and still attacking. Yoann Bagot (Cofidis) then attacked from the group, followed by Rory Sutherland (Saxo-Tinkoff), and the two Cofidis riders got together with a kilometre to go.

Bagot left Edet behind, but Sayar was 25 seconds ahead of him, with the rest of the group another ten seconds back. Sayar managed to hold off the French rider, sprinting to the line but sitting up in good time to celebrate by far the biggest ever victory of his career.

Bagot fought to the line to finish 18 seconds later, with Edet following after another five seconds; Berhane lost 43 seconds by the time he hit the line in 12th place, passing the race lead over to Sayar.

Result stage 6
1. Mustafa Sayar (Tur) Torku Seker Spor
2. Yoann Bagot (Fra) Cofidis @ 18s
3. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis @ 23s
4. Danial Petrov (Blr) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA @ 28s
5. John Darwin Atapuma (Col) Colombia @ 30s
6. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Sojasun
7. Sserge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
8. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
9. Florian Guillou (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environment @ 33s
10. Marc de Maar (AHo) UnitedHealthcare

Standings after stage 6
1. Mustafa Sayar (Tur) Torku Seker Spor
2. Natnael Berhane (Eri) Europcar @ 41s
3. Yoann Bagot (Fra) Cofidis @ 44s
4. Maxime Mederel (Fra) Sojasun @ 57s
5. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis @ 1’00”
6. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge @ 1’02”
7. John Darwin Atapuma (Col) Colombia @ 1’08”
8. Florian Guillou (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environment @ 1’09”
9. Danail Andonov (Blr) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA @ 1’13”
10. Rory Sutherland (Aus) Team Saxo-Tinkoff @ 1’15”


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