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With a well-timed attack on the lower slopes of the Elmali climb, Rebellin and Durasek distanced their rivals and it was the Italian who emerged as the fastest in the final 150m; Rebellin also takes the overall lead










28.04.2015 @ 18:17 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Davide Rebellin (CCC) confirmed that he is still able to mix it up with the best when he took a hugely impressive win in the Tour of Turkey queen stage. Having attacked on the lower slopes of the final Elmali climb, he joined forces with Kristijan Durasek (Lampre-Merida) before he made a well-timed acceleration with 150m to go to take both the stage win and the overall lead.


Davide Rebellin may be 43 years of age but nothing suggests that he is slowing down yet. 6 months ago he won one of the hardest Italian one-day races when he emerged as the strongest in the Giro dell’Emilia and earlier this year he was one of the strongest on the climbs in the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali.


Those performances made him confident that he would be able to win the Tour of Turkey in which he finished fifth 12 months ago after he had lost 10 stupid seconds due to a split in a sprint stage. His CCC team believed fully in his chances and so they gathered a team of climbers to support their captain and decided not to send a sprinter to the race that is usually dominated by bunch sprints.


In the first two stages, the Polish team stayed quiet and made sure that their leader was ready to strike when the race hit the mountains today. The summit finish on the Elmali climb – known as the Turkish Alpe d’Huez – is likely to be the single most decisive stage and Rebellin looked focused as he stayed near the front of the reduced peloton when they approached the final 10km ascent.


As they hit the climb, it was the Astana team who rode on the front to set up their climber Miguel Angel Lopez and their fast pace was enough to make the group splinter to pieces. Rebellin was riding near the front and didn’t react when Lluis Mas (Caja Rural) made the first attack with 8km to go.


The in-form Spaniard got a small gap and now Rebellin showed his intentions when he asked his teammates to lead the chase. While André Greipel (Lotto Soudal) was one of many riders to get dropped from the group that was down to around 20 riders, the Polish team brought Mas back.


Heinier Parra (Caja Rural) launched an immediate counterattack and now it was time for Rebellin to react. He quickly followed the Colombian and was joined by Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff-Saxo) before Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev (Astana) brought the trio back.


Parra and Rebellin refused to give up and when they kicked again, they got a bigger advantage. Kristijan Durasek realized the danger and was quick to join them and those three riders quickly got a big advantage.


Mirko Selvaggi (Wanty) started to chase before McCarthy and Enrico Barbin (Bardiani) took off in pursuit. As the big Italian faded, Christian Meier (Orica-GreenEDGE) took over for Orica-GreenEDGE but the main group kept losing time to the two leading groups.


Parra was unable to keep up with his two companions and he dropped back to McCarthy and Barbin who kept losing time to Durasek and Rebellin. Meanwhile, the main group had been whittled down to Daniele Ratto, Selvaggi, Javier Mejias, Alex Cano, Adam Hansen, Eduardo Sepulveda, Serge Pauwels, Meier and Lopez.


Marczynski managed to rejoin that group but they kept losing ground. When Kozhatayev briefly managed to get back to take a big turn with 4km to go, they had already been distanced by 45 seconds while the chasers were at 25 seconds.


Sepulveda hit the front to try to get across to the leaders and he made the group explode. Pauwels, Cano and Hansen were the last riders to surrender as the strong Argentinean quickly bridged the gap to the chasers.


Sepulveda continued straight past Parra, McCarthy and Barbin and he managed to reduce his gap to the leaders to 30 seconds before he exploded. With 1.5km to go, he again started to lose ground and while Pauwels caught the McCarthy group, it was clear that Durasek and Rebelllin would decide the stage.


With a little more than 1km to go, Durasek tried to attack but Rebellin was glued to his wheel. Meanwhile, Pauwels had distanced his companions but it was only a battle for the minor placings.


Durasek continued to ride on the front as they passed the flamme rouge before trying another acceleration inside the final 500m. However, Rebellin responded well and with 150m to go, he made his big attack to easily distance Durasek and take a big win. The Croatian was second at 7 seconds while Sepulveda took third, 50 seconds behind Rebellin.


With the win, Rebellin also takes the leader’s jersey in the Turkish race and he will wear the turquoise jersey in stage 4 which is a mixed affair. Almost all day it is up or down, with a tough climb coming with around 10km to go. However, history proves that the stage is usually decided in a sprint from a reduced peloton but a breakaway may also have a chance.


The queen stage

After two stages for the sprinters, the climbers were expected to come to the fore in stage 3 which brought the riders over 165.3km from Kemer to the summit finish at the top of the Elmali climb. After a flat start, the riders went up a category 2 climb before they descended to another flat stretch. At the halfway point, they reached the bottom of the first category 1 climb of the race which led to a flat plateau. Finally, they went up the 8km ascent known as Turkey’s Alpe d’Huez that featured on the course for the fourth year in a row.


The riders again had perfect weather condition when they left Kemer to head into the Turkish mountains as the sun was shining from a bright sky. All 165 riders who finished yesterday’s stage, signed in this morning and they got the race off to a very fast start.


Lots of attacks

Sergey Grechyn (Torku) was the first rider to take off and he was quickly joined by Jef Van Meirhaeghe (Topsport Vlaanderen) to form a strong duo. The peloton was in no mood to let them slip away though and during the fast pace the bunch even split into two groups. However, it all came back together when the two escapees were caught.


Boris Vallee (Lotto Soudal) and Frederic Brun (Bretagne) were the next to try by they were brought back after 12km of racing. A little later 10 riders got clear while the fast pace meant that 15 riders lost contact with the speeding peloton.


The break gets clear

Again it all came back together but the next move was the one that laid the foundations for the early break. Marco Bandiera (Androni) took off and after 21km of racing, he had built an advantage of 40 seconds. As the peloton hit the first climb, Juan Pablo Valencia (Colombia), Jose Goncalves (Caja Rural), Songezo Jim (MTN-Qhubeka) and Samuel Spokes (Drapac) managed to bridge the gap to the lone Italian and so a 5-rider group was formed.


While Valencia led Jim, Spokes and Goncalves over the top of the climb, the peloton slowed down and allowed the gap to grow. It quickly reached 2.50 when Spokes won the first intermediate sprint ahead of Bandiera and Jim after 50km of racing.


Cavendish is dropped

The gap was still growing and had reached 3.35 at the 58km mark. It went out to a maximum of 4.10 but at the 79km mark, the peloton had reduced the deficit to 3.15. It dropped to 3.00 before Goncalves beat Jim and Valencia in the Turkish Beauty Sprint after 99km of racing.


The riders had now started to climb the first category 1 mountain and this made the peloton explode to pieces. Race leader Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep) was among the many riders to lose contact with the main group.


The break splits up

The climb also took its toll on the leaders. Spokes was the first to get dropped before Bandiera also lost contact, leaving just three riders to press on. For most of the climb, they maintained an advantage of around 2.50.


As they neared the summit of the climb, Jim and Valencia sprinted it out for the points and it was the Colombian who emerged as the fastest. Meanwhile, the attacking started in the peloton when John Ebsen (Androni) took off and he was joined by a big group that included Thomas De Gendt, Mas, Kenny De Ketele, Davide Frattini, Youcef Reguigui and Pavel Brutt.


Lots of attacks

Frattini led Brutt over the top of the climb with a time loss of 2.10 and those two riders were joined by Mikolay Mihaylov and De Gendt to form a strong quartet. Later Christian Meier and De Ketele also made it across but Astana was in no mood to let this strong group get clear and so they chased it down. De Gendt and Brutt briefly tried to prolong their attack but they were quickly brought back.


The attacking continued as Gert Dockx and Xang Gu were among many riders to try to get clear but it was Dockx and De Gendt who got a gap. They were joined by Tom Boonen, Brutt and Nicola Boem and later Reguigui and Jelle Wallays also made it across.


Astana chase hard

Astana knew that it was a dangerous situation so they immediately started to chase, with Dmitriy Gruzdev and Arman Kamyshev doing a massive amount of work. Meanwhile, the 7 chasers caught the three leaders with 40km to go.


At this point, the gap was only 20 seconds and as Astana continued their hard work, the gap steadily came down. With 33km to go, the junction was almost made and so Wallays and Brutt decided to take off. Reguigui joined them while the rest of the break was caught.


Astana and CCC in control

With a smaller group now up the road, Astana slowed down and allowed the gap to go out to 30 seconds. CCC started to work with the Kazakh team and for a while Gruzdev, Kamyshev, Jan Hirt and Lukasz Owsian kept the gap stable at 30 seconds.


Inside the final 20km, all the work was left to Gruzdev but the strong Kazakh was riding impressively well. With 11km to go, he had brought the gap down to 10 seconds and so Wallays decided to sit up. A few hundred metres later, it was also over for Reguigui and Brutt.


Astana continued to set the pace as the road started to rise and the gradual elimination started immediately. Moments later Mas made his move to start the exciting finale from which Rebellin emerged as the winner.



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