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German sprinter survives hard last climb and emerges as the fastest in a select lead group of around 30 riders

Photo: Sirotti










24.04.2013 @ 15:52 Posted by Simon Knudstrup

Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) proved that he is much more than just a sprinter as he managed to survive a hard climb whose summit was located with less than 10km to go in today's fifth stage of the Tour of Turkey. Unsurprisingly, he was the fastest among the 30 riders left in the group and he took a convincing win ahead of Nikias Arndt (Argos-Shimano) and Moreno Hofland (Blanco).


On a hard route with plenty of climbs and a strong headwind throughout most of the day Andre Greipel emerged as the strongest from the select lead group which had gone clear over the top of the day's final ascent. Plenty of attacks from the GC riders had made it a hard challenge to keep in contact but despite the high pace no one was able to drop the German.


The peloton was all back at the bottom of the climb after a hard chase by the Europcar, Colombia and Bardiani teams had brought back a dangerous 12-man group containing the likes of Gerald Ciolek (MTN), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) and Adam Hansen (Lotto). As soon as the road started to point upwards, attacks started to go off at a paid pace.


The first one to try was Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) who was joined by Armindo Fonseca (Bretagne) and Jose Pimenta (NetApp) to form a dangerous 3-rider move. Behind the attacks continued and the trio never managed to build up a gap.


The GC battle got serious when third-placed Mustafa Sayar (Konya) attacked with second-placed Kevin Seeldrayers (Astana), Danail Petrov (Caja Rural), Yoann Bagot (Cofidis), Rory Sutherland (Saxo-Tinkoff) and David De La Fuente (Konya) in his wheel. They caught the leading trio but never managed to get clear of the drastically reduced bunch which was completely strung out.


Meanwhile, overall leader Natnael Berhane was nowhere to be seen among the first 30 riders and it seemed the Eritrean Europcar rider had a bad day after his impressive showing in yesterday's queen stage. The pace was relentless and the young rider was clearly struggling on the steep slopes.


Just before the top with less than 10km to go, De La Fuente attacked and the former KOM leader of the Tour de France managed to build up a slight gap. On the descent he was joined by Seeldrayers and the duo raced down towards the finish at tremendous speed.


Behind a 30-rider group had emerged and it was now the Argos-Shimano and Sojasun teams setting a hard tempo. With Nikias Arndt and Jonathan Hivert both in the group they had strong cards to play in case of a final sprint.


The green jersey of points leader Greipel was, however, very visible in the front end of the group and it was clear that the big German was the big favourite when De La Fuente and Seeldrayers were caught with 4km to go. Meanwhile, Berhane had rejoined the group and his overall lead was again safe.


Argos an Sojsaun made sure to keep the pace high on the final run-in to the line but as soon as the sprint opened up, Greipel showed his superior speed. No one came even close to the big German who finally got back to his winning ways after having been left empty-handed since his win in the Tour Mediteraneen in February.


Berhane kept his leader's jersey but he faces a hard challenge during Thursday's and Friday's stages which both contain plenty of climbing.


Starting at 11.15 you can follow tomorrow's fifth stage on



A dangerous 13-man move

The 147km stage from Gocek to Marmaris took in some undulating terrain and as it was up and down most of the day, most teams knew that it would be a good opportunity for a successful breakaway. Hence, the race was off to an aggressive start before a 12-man move finally managed to move clear.


Mikhael Ignatiev (Katusha), Timofey Kritskiy (Katusha), Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol), Gerald Ciolek (MTN), Adrian Kurek (CCC),  Nikolay Mihaylov (CCC), Anthony Delaplace (Sojasun), Renaud Dion (Bretagne), Pier Paolo De Negri (Vini Fantini), Serguei Grechyn (Konya), Michael Hepburn (Orica-GreenEdge) and Nico Sijmens (Cofidis) managed to build up a gap. With Hansen only 1.46 behind overall leader Berhane, the move was dangerous and Europcar immediately upped the pace to keep the break under control.


The advantage almost managed to reach 3 minutes but with 76km remaining it was down to 1.16 as Europcar was now assisted by the Colombia team at the head of the peloton. At that point Grechyn had used a second place on the day's only categorized climb to take over the lead in the mountains competition from Mauro Finetto (Vini Fantini) while Ignatiev had won the day's Turkish Beauty sprint to take the lead in that competition away from Ahmet Örken (Konya).


No cooperation in the break

The cooperation in the breakaway was very bad and the riders kept attacking each other. No one managed to get a gap until Ignatiev set off alone with 64km remaining. Behind he was chased by Delaplace, De Negri and Hansen and after a number of kilometres the Russian decided to wait for the trio.


With 58km to go, it was, however, once again back together in the front group while the Bardiani team of Sacha Modolo and Sonny Colbrelli had how joined Europcar and Colombia in the front group of the peloton. There was still no cooperation in the lead group and 7km later Delaplace set off on his own.


Ignatiev once again on the attack

Ignatiev managed to chase him down and the duo were now alone in the lead. The chasers split up with Grechyn, De Negri, Ciolek, Kritskiy and Dion moving ahead of their former escape companions and later Grechyn soloed off on his own. Moments later they were, however, all picked up by a the peloton which was completely strung out under the rapid pace.


Ignatiev attacked his companion and set off in another solo attempt but on the lower slopes of the day's penultimate climb he gave up and it was all back together with 20km to go. Colombia set a hard tempo on the ascent to tire their competitors legs and riders started to drop off.


Aggressive racing

On the flat approach to the day's final climb a number of riders attacked but nobody was able to get a decent gap. Instead it was a rather bunch that hit the bottom of the day's final challenge.


NetApp took control of the peloton on the lower slopes and as Edet attacked the German team made sure that their Portuguese captain Pimenta joined the move alongside Fonseca. The move was, however, a short-lived one as the GC riders started to attack behind and put Berhane into difficulty. The Eritrean was able to save his lead despite his problems and it was big Andre Greipel who proved his strong climbing legs by taking the win at the end of a very hard day.



1 André Greipel
2 Nikias Arndt
3 Moreno Hofland
4 Filippo Pozzato
5 Michal Golas

6. Francesco Lasca

7. Geoffrey Lequatre

8. Nicolas Edet

9. Jonathan Hivert

10. Serge Pauwels


General classification:

1. Nathanel Berhane

2. Kevin Seeldrayers +0.10

3. Mustafa Sayar +0.14

4. Maxime Mederel +0.26

5. Yoann Bagot +0.34

6. Rory Sutherland

7. Cameron Meyer

8. Florian Guillou +0.38

9. Darwin Atapuma +0.40

10. Nicolas Edet +0.43



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