Tour of Turkey: Marcel Kittel takes final Istanbul stage as Mustafa Sayar confirms overall
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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Tour of Turkey: Marcel Kittel takes final Istanbul stage as Mustafa Sayar confirms overall

by Ben Atkins at 9:30 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Presidential Tour of Turkey
 
German sprinter wins third victory of the race; First Turkish winner for a decade

mustafa sayar Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) completed the near-total domination of the sprint stages of the 2013 Presidential Tour of Turkey by the Germans, as he powered to his third victory of the race in the eighth and final day in Istanbul. The outspoken 24-year-old German beat Italian Andrea Guardini (Astana) into second place in the dash for the line for the second straight day, with British rider Andy Fenn (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) taking his best result of the race with third.

Other than those held up by a small crash with around two kilometres to go - which included sixth overall Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEdge) - the peloton finished almost all together.

"Our day was pretty relaxed, there wasn't a big fight like the last few stages,” Kittel said afterwards. “We started to control with Cheng Ji and Thomas Damuseau who have done a lot of work in the past week, they did great.

"We stayed in front coming into the finish and the boys were in a good position,” he explained. “We were maybe a little too early but we are at a level now that we can deal with these kind of situations. I am really proud of this week.

"The team as a whole have made big improvements from last year, and I feel that I've made a step myself too, but all the riders became stronger and it showed in the way that we handle situations. This is what this team is about and it is great to see it happen.”

Kittel’s second and third victories of the race may not have happened, as he was almost forced to abandon - along with a number of others - after coming down in a big crash into Antalya at the end of the second stage. The German persisted, however, and managed to complete the near-domination of the sprint stages by himself and compatriot André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol); only Lithuanian Aidis Kruopis (Orica-GreenEdge) was able to deny the Germans, winning the crash-marred second stage.

"It was quite a heavy week with the heavy crash on stage 2,” Kittel said. “I was even not sure if I could start the next day, but fortunately I was able to carry on and look back now on good week with three wins. Now I am heading home, will have some time at home to train before heading to Picardie for the next race."

Turquoise jersey Mustafa Sayar (Torku Seker Spor) was safely tucked in close to the front of the bunch and, as he crossed the line, became the first Turkish rider to win his home Tour since 2003. The 24-year-old’s victory was based on his win on stage six on the steep climb to the House of the Virgin Mary above Selçuk, where he wrested the overall lead from turquoise jersey incumbent Natnael Berhane (Europcar); the Eritrean finished the race in second place overall, 41 seconds behind Sayar, with Yoann Bagot (Cofidis) a further three seconds down in third.

“First of all I m very happy for myself and for my team that we won the biggest Tour organised in Turkey,” said Sayar after the race. “Thanks to everybody, my teammates and everyone coming here to support us, my team and myself. This Tour was very hard. On the other hand, we were lucky that the profile of some stages were adequate, suited us and favoured us. Overall, I'm very happy.

“[The Mountain stages of the race] were decisive for us as I'm also a good climber,” he continued. “Our chance was that the other teams were mostly composed of sprinters instead of climbers which was in our advantage.”

The 123.4km final stage, despite being a predominantly flat city centre race - crossing the Bosphorus from Europe to Asia in Turkey’s largest city - it was subject to an almost immediate attack from the ever-aggressive Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha). The former Russian time trial champion was quickly joined by Benjamin Verraes (Accent.jobs-Wanty) and Javier Megias (Novo Nordisk) - with Francisco Moreno (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) briefly trying to be part of the group - and at the 30km point they were 3’50” ahead of the peloton.

Sayer’s Torku Seker Spor team was keeping control of the break’s advantage, along with the Lotto-Belisol team of double stage winner Greipel, but - despite a last-ditch effort from Ignatiev - the Orica-AIS team moved forward and closed down the move with 12km to go.

Lampre-Merida and Astana also moved up to work for sprinters Maximiliano Richeze and Andrea Guardini, but Kittel was irresistible and the Argos-Shimano train led the German out to his third stage victory of the race.

All those brought down and delayed by the crash with two kilometres to go were credited with the same time, including Meyer, who held on to his sixth place overall.

Result stage 8
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano
2. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Team Astana
3. Andrew Fenn (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
4. Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) Orica-GreenEdge
5. Stefan van Dijk (Ned) Accent.jobs-Wanty
6. Moreno Hofland (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling
7. Francesco Lasca (Ita) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
8. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida
9. Andrea Palini (Ita) Lampre-Merida
10. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol

Final overall standings
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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