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Yates makes a powerful attack 1km from the top of the final climb and holds off a desperately chasing Taaramae by 7 seconds to move into the overall lead by a tiny 1-second margin

Photo: Tour of Turkey/Mario Stiehl

DAVIDE FORMOLO

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DAVIDE REBELLIN

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MITCHELTON-SCOTT

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REIN TAARAMAE

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TOUR OF TURKEY

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02.05.2014 @ 15:42 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEDGE) did almost everything perfectly when he made a beautifully timed and very powerful attack 1km from the top of the final climb in today's sixth stage of the Tour of Turkey to take an impressive solo victory. A desperately chasing Rein Taaramae (Cofidis) crossed the line 7 seconds later and so Yates took over the leader's jersey by a very small 1-second margin with just 2 flat stages to come.

 

It was a really nail-biting final as the overall classification of the 50th Tour of Turkey came down to the wire in the final kilometre of the climb to the summit finish in Selcuk in today's sixth stage of the race. In a very exciting finish, Adam Yates took it all as he both crossed the line in first position and put enough time into Rein Taaramae to take over the overall lead.

 

Yates has long been described as an exceptional talent and he put his skills on show when he finished second in last year's Tour de l'Avenir. Today he proved it one the biggest scene against some of the best climbers in the world when he dropped them all with a beautifully timed attack just as they passed the flamme rouge.

 

At that point, the hard pace a whittled down the group of favourites to just a dozen riders but the group had virtually come to a standstill as the GC contenders started looking at each other. Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol) exploited the situation and put in a strong attack that allowed him to open a solid gap.

 

However, the Australian was quickly passed when the explosive Yates flew past him and behind race leader Rein Taaramae immediately sensed the danger. Knowing that the Brit was his biggest rival, he had carefully stayed on his wheel all the way up the slopes but he was unable to respond to the powerful attack.

 

Taaramae went straight to the front and chased as best his could while the group of favourites had now been whittled down to just himself, Davide Formolo (Cannondale), Davide Rebellin (CCC), Hansen, Juan Jose Cobo (Torku Sekerspor), Luis-Leon Sanchez (Caja Rural), Kristijan Durasek (Lampre-Merida) and Taaramae's Cofidis teammate Romain Hardy. However, he didn't get any help and was forced to do all the work on his own.

 

Throughout the entire kilometre, Yates and the group seemed to be separated by a gap that was very close to those crucial 6 seconds that had separated the two contenders at the start of the stage. Unsurprisingly, Taaramae had to see a few riders take off when the finish line was in sight as Formolo and Rebellin took off in a quest to take the stage win.

 

There was no one catching Yates, however, and the young Brit crossed the line to take a big solo win. However, he almost made a very costly rookie mistake when he started to celebrate too early which clearly cost him a few seconds.

 

Formolo and Rebellin crossed the line two seconds later while Taaramae led the next group across the line just a little later. Evidently, his time loss was very close to those 6 seconds but when the commissaires made up their mind, they registered a difference of 7 seconds that allowed Yates to take the overall lead by the tiniest of margins.

 

With just two flat stages coming up, Yates finds himself in a very good position to take a big stage race victory. His first challenge is tomorrow's 144km stage to Izmir that has very few climbing challenges and so seems to be destined to end in a big bunch sprint.

 

A big summit finish

After two days in rolling terrain, it was back into climbing mode for the Tour fo Turkey riders on the sixth stage that seemed to be the one that would shape the final overall classification. The riders headed over 182km from Bodrum to Selcuk and the first part was almost entirely flat, making for an easy start to the stage. Inside the final 35km, however, the riders went up two big climb, with the final 3km ascent leading to the finish in Selcuk.

 

With the Giro d'Italia starting in a week, several riders decided not to take the start as they preferred to head home to recover a bit before the grand tour. Luca Paolini (Katusha), Daniele Colli (Neri Sottoli), Simone Ponzi (Neri Sottoli), Maxim Belkov (Katusha), and Mitchell Docker (Orica-GreenEDGE) are all expected to be at the start in Belfast in a week's time and are now out of the Tour of Turkey while Mark Cavendish got a serious blow as his lead-out man Mark Renshaw (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) didn't take the start either.

 

A break takes off

Unlike the two previous stages, the start was a bit more animated and it took some time for the right break to be established. The elastic snapped when Arman Kamyshev (Astana), André Greipel (Lotto Belisol), Javier Aramendia (Caja Rural), Adrian Kurek (CCC), Matthias Krizek (Cannonale) and Wesley Kreder (Wanty) took off but the sextet had to fight hard to get their gap. At the 16km mark, they were only one minute ahead while a chase group with Adam Phelan (Drapac), Luis Mas (Caja Rural), Dennis van Niekerk (MTN-Qhubeka) and Andrea Fedi (Neri Sottoli) were just 40 seconds behind.

 

While three of the chasers were caught, Phelan kept going a little longer until he was finally swept up by the peloton. The main group finally decided to slow down a bit and this allowed the gap to grow, reaching 5.30 at the 53km mark.

 

Kamyshev drops off

At this point, Kamyshev had already fallen off the pace, leaving just 5 rider to press on, and they continued to build their advantage. At the 66km mark, they were 6.15 ahead of the peloton but that was as much as they would get as the main group now started to stabilize the situation.

 

In the intermediate sprint, Aramendia was first across the line ahead of Krizek and Kurek and the peloton had now started to chase. The gap was already down to 4 minutes at that point and when Greipel led Aramendia and Kurek over the line at the Turkish Beauty Sprint 53km from the line, it was only 2.50.

 

A hard chase

In the peloton, MTN-Qhubeka, Astana and Drapac were riding hard, with Martin Wesemann, Ferekalsy Debesay (both MTN), Dmitriy Gruzdev (Astana) and a single Drapac rider swapping turns on the front. The gap was really melting away and 40km from the line, it was down to just 1.25.

 

Unitedhealthcare also joined the pace-setting as they were keen to bring back the break before the top of the first climb as Marc De Maar needed a few more points to defend his mountains jersey against the GC riders. As MTN stopped their work, however, it was left to the American team, Astana and Drapac to set the pace.

 

The break is caught

With 30km to go, two Astana riders, two UHC riders and a single Drapac rider had brought it down to 35 seconds and just a two kilometres further up the road, it was over for the break. Greipel and Kreder were the first to get caught and a few moments later the rest of the break was also brought back.

 

Unitedhealthcare and Drapac stopped chasing as the road now started to ramp slightly upwards. An impressive Gruzdev led the Astana train almost all the way to the top until Unitedhealthcare took over in their quest to score the points.

 

De Maar scores points

Robert Förster, Davide Frattini and De Maar moved to the front and upped the pace so much that they got a gap with Karol Domagalski (Caja Rural). Behind, several riders started to drop off as Cofidis took over the pace-setting.

 

Förster dropped back while De Maar took off on his own and he crossed the line in first position to take the maximum 3 points ahead of Frattini and Domagalski. After the top, Cofidis brought it back together and quickly responded to an attack from a Neri Sottoli rider.

 

A fierce battle for position

Gijs Van Hoecke (Topsport Vlaanderen) attacked and was joined by Youcef Reguigui (MTN) but as Caja Rrual took over the pace-setting, they were quickly swept up. The Spanish team set a fierce pace on the descent until they were replaced by Bardiani.

 

At the bottom of the climb, Cannondale took over to keep Formolo in a good position until Caja Rural and later Astana hit the front. The pace was really high as the battle for position was extremely intense.

 

Lampre take control

10km from the line, Lampre-Merida seemed to have won the battle when they lined out 5 riders on the front but they had to contend with Astana, Bardiani, Cannondale and Caja Rural who were all very prominent in this hectic phase. As soon as they hit the climb, Christophe Le Mevel took over for Cofidis and the peloton immediately exploded to pieces.

 

4km from the top Fabricio Ferrari took over for Caja Rural to set up his team leader Sanchez while Taarame had already glued himself to Yates' wheel. Cameron Wurf showed that Formolo was feeling well when he took a turn on the front that saw even more riders drop off.

 

Hansen makes his first attack

3km from the finish Hansen made the first attack and was joined by Durasek. Behind, Mirac Kal led the chase for Torku but it was Wanty rider Gregory Habeaux who brought the group back.

 

Alexandr Dyachenko (Astana) was the first GC rider to drop off as Habeaux continued his hard riding on the front. As he slowed down Valerio Conti (Lampre-Merida) attacked but when Enrico Barbin (Bardiani) brought him back, he started to set the pace for his teammate Durasek.

 

Another attack from Conti

When he finished his job, the group slowed down as the favourites started to look at each other and this allowed Conti to make another attack. There was no immediate response before Tomasz Marcynski (CCC) tried to bridge across.

 

Durasek closed it down for his teammate but it got really interesting when Hansen took off. He easily passed Conti and had a solid gap when he passed the flamme rouge.

 

That was when Yates made his move and from there it was a fierce pursuit between the Brit and Taaramae all the way to the line. Despite making a rookie mistake of celebrating too early, the Brit held on to take not only the stage win but also the overall lead.

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