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After another excellent lead-out from Ferrari, Modolo jumped from wheel to wheel in the hectic bunch sprint on stage 4 of the Tour of Turkey before holding off Colli and Zanotti in the final dash; Bilbao retained the lead

Photo: ANSA / DAL ZENNARO - ZENNARO - PERI

CAJA RURAL - SEGUROS RGA

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DANIELE COLLI

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MARCO ZANOTTI

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PELLO BILBAO

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SACHA MODOLO

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TOUR OF TURKEY

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UAE TEAM EMIRATES

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27.04.2016 @ 15:41 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) got a significant confidence boost for the Giro d’Italia by claiming his first win of the season in today’s fourth stage of the Tour of Turkey. After an excellent lead-out from Roberto Ferrari, the Italian jumped from wheel to wheel before launching his sprint perfectly, easily holding off Daniele Colli (Nippo-Vini Fantini) and Marco Zanotti (Parkhotel Valkenburg). Pello Bilbao (Caja Rural) retained the lead.

 

One year ago Sacha Modolo had had a difficult start to the 2015 season but the Italian got back on track at the Tour of Turkey where he took his first win of the year. He went on to have his most successful Giro d’Italia ever, claiming two stage wins in the biggest race of his season.

 

This year Modolo has had a much better first part as he sprinted very well in the first races in the Middle East and he was riding strongly in Milan-Sanremo until he was taken out of contention by a puncture. However, the elusive win was still missing and again he headed to Turkey in a search of an important confidence boost for the Giro.

 

Today he got what he was looking for as he came out on top in the first real bunch sprint of the race. To make things even better, the win came after a great lead-out from teammate Roberto Ferrari which proves that the Italian duo is fully ready to go for glory in the Giro.

 

Unlike yesterday, there wasn’t much wind on the long journey from the mountains to the coastal city of Alanya where the sprinters have traditionally dominated and after a fast start, it was a controlled affair with Lotto Soudal and Caja Rural keeping a 6-rider break in check. With 35km to go, the chase had become more organized as Konya was now also contributing but the surviving trio of Alessandro Malaguti (Uniero), Sven Van Luijk (Parkhotel) and Pawel Cieslik (Verva) still had an advantage of more than 2 minutes.

 

Caja Rural ended their chase effort but instead the Roth team came to the fore to lend Lotto Soudal and Konya a hand. However, it didn’t have much of an effect and the gap was still 2.10 as they entered the final 30km.

 

Lotto Soudal realized that something had to be done and so Gert Dockx started to cooperate with his teammate Wallays on the front of the peloton. Caja Rural also put another rider on the front but impressively the gap remained stable for several kilometres.

 

Finally, the balance tipped in favour of the peloton and the gap had been reduced to 1.25 as they entered the final 20km. The chase got even more organized as Torku added significant firepower and it was now Frison, Dockx, Ricardo Vilela (Caja Rural), Mustafa Sayar, Muhammet Atalay, Fatih Keles (Torku) and a Roth rider that set the pace.

 

With 15km to go, the gap was only 1.10 and it had dropped to less than a minute three kilometres later. This was the signal for Malaguti to make his move and he attacked on a small climb. Van Luijk sat up immediately but Cieslik did his best to rejoin the Italian.

 

Van Luijk was swallowed up by the peloton with 10km to go where Malaguti was still 55 seconds ahead of the peloton. Konya were now less aggressive, using just a single rider for the chase. At the same time, Southeast put a rider on the front.

 

With 7km to go, Malaguti had a 15-second advantage over Cieslik while the peloton was just 15 seconds further adrift. Lotto Soudal took complete control with Frederik Frison, Wallays and Dockx, bringing Cieslik back in the process.

 

Malaguti did his best but had no chance against the Lotto Soudal train. After Vilela had taken a final turn, Frison and Dockx again hit the front and they brought the Italian back with 4.5km to go.

 

Dockx, Frison, Stig Broeckx, Adam Hansen, Kris Boeckmans, Greg Henderson and André Greipel lined up at the front and when the former swung off, it was Frison and Broeckx who set the pace. That’s when it started to unravel for the Belgians as they were passed by the Nippo riders Eduard Grosu and Riccardo Stacchiotti who both took huge turns while their sprinter Daniele Colli latched onto Greipel´s wheel.

 

With 2km to go, Hansen launched the Lotto Soudal lead-out but this was the final time that they had the front. Bram Nolten (Parkhotel) moved up with the Southeast train behind and from there the Italians were in control.

 

Eugert Zhupa launched the lead-out and it was Liam Bertazzo who led his sprinters Manuel Belletti and Jakub Mareczko under the flamme rouge while Greipel was now completely isolated. He got completely boxed in when Bertazzo started to fade and instead it was Ferrari who again proved his class.

 

The Italian had done everything right to position Modolo and he hit the front with 800m to go, followed  Grzgorz Stepniak (CCC) and his fast teammate. He was unable to keep up the pace though but Modolo was attentive to jump into second when Remco Te Brake (Parkhotel) tried to lead his teammate Marco Zanotti out.

 

Manuel Belletti jumped from afar, trying to lead Mareczko out, but the Italian youngster failed to follow his teammate. Instead, Modolo jumped onto Belletti’s wheel and from there he launched the sprint, easily holding off the late comeback from Daniele Colli to take the win. Zanotti narrowly edged Belleti out for third.

 

There were several splits in the finale but Pello Bilbao was always attentive to stay with the best and so he defended his 5-second advantage over teammate Jose Goncalves. He should have another relatively easy day tomorrow in stage 5 which is an almost completely flat run along the coast from Alanya to Kemer. There are no categorized climbs on the menu and unless the wind picks up, it looks like another day for a bunch sprint.

 

A mixed stage

After yesterday’s windy drama, things were expected to be a bit calmer in stage 4 which brought the riders over 187km from Seydisehir to the traditional finish in Alanya. The stage had a very hilly start with both a category 2 and a category 1 climb but the final 150km consisted of a long descent to the coast – punctuated by a small category 3 climb – and a flat run along the coast to the finish in the tourist destination.

 

It was a great sunny day with barely any wind when the riders gathered for the start in the mountains and all riders that reached the finish yesterday were present. Despite the heavy legs from yesterday’s stage, it was a brutally fast start with lots of attacks in the hilly opening phase.

 

A battle for KOM points

Four riders briefly got clear but it was all back together after a few kilometres in what was a nervous part of the race. That resulted in a crash that ended the race for Mikel Aristi (Delko).

 

No one managed to escape as they hit the first climb and it was Ilya Koshevoy (Lampre-Merida) who beat Peter Schulting (Parkhotel), Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre-Merida), Remy Di Gregorio (Delko) and Christophe Laborie (Delko) in the first KOM sprint. The attacking continued on the second climb where Niemiec was first at the top, crossing the line ahead Mauro Finetto (Uniero), Ricardo Vilela (Caja Rural) and his teammate Ilya Koshevoy in the KOM sprint after one hour at an average speed on 37km/h.

 

The break gets clear

It had been a brutal start to the stage in the hilly terrain but things finally calmed down as they started the descent. This allowed Nikolay Mihaylov (CCC), Mirko Tedeschi (Southeast), Pawel Cieslik (Verva), Dominik Hrinkow (Hrinkow), Sven Van Luijk (Parkhotel) and Alessandro Malaguti (Uniero) to attack and they had built an advantage of 2.30 when they reached the 100km mark.

 

Hrinkow beat Cieslik and Mihaylov in the small category 3 climb near the bottom of the long descent to the coast while the chase slowly started to get organized. Lotto Soudal put Jelle Wallays on the front and he traded pulls with a single Caja Rural rider. With 60km to go, they had reduced the gap to 1.40.

 

Konya come to the fore

When the peloton finished the descent, things got a bit more nervous in the bunch as everybody feared the potential crosswind. Caja Rural and Wallays still set the pace but Astana City and Uniero almost swamped them as they tried to stay near the front. Nonetheless, the escapees managed to push the gap out to 2.15 with 50km to go.

 

Malaguti led Cieslik and Hrinkow across the line in the only intermediate sprint while the Konya team came to the fore to lend Lotto Soudal and Caja Rural a hand. However, it didn’t have much of an effect on the gap which was stable at 2.20.

 

The break splits up

With 43km to go, Cieslik attacked from the front group and only Malaguti could initially follow. Van Luijk managed to join the move but Tedeschi, Hrinkow and Mihaylov sat up and decided to wairt for the peloton.

 

The peloton was still very nervous and quickly brought the three chasers back but the fight for position and the work from Konya, Caja Rural and Lotto Soudal had little effect on the gap which was still 2.20 at the Turkish Beauty Sprint with 35km to go. Here Van Luijk launched a late sprint but he timed it wrong and failed and failed to get past Cieslik while Malaguti rolled across the line in third.

 

With 32km to go, the peloton calmed down again when the very nervous Astana City team realized that there was no real danger. Moments later, the chase got more organized and in the end, it all came down to the expected bunch sprint.

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