Adam Yates Maintains General Classification Position at Tour of Turkey

Wed 30 Apr 2014

Stage four of the Tour of Turkey was a quiet day for ORICA-GreenEDGE, although the race saw an unexpected twist due to foul weather. The lumpy stage expected to favour the escape artists or sprinters with good climbing legs. Mother Nature had another idea. Trrential rain caused the race to be neutralised briefly before a restart down the road.

Under grey clouds and ominous skies, Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharme-Quick Step) bested the rest of the field to take his third win of the Turkish tour. Adam Yates finished on bunch time to retain second place on general classification. Rein Taaramäe (Cofidis) continues to lead the race, 6” ahead of Yates.

Early in the stage, five riders went clear of the peloton and managed to stretch their gap to 3’30”. As heavy rain started to fall over the first climb of the day, the peloton had reduced the gap to the leading group of Maxim Belkov (Katusha), Luis Mas, (Caja Rural), Adam Phelan (Drapac), Frederik Backhaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Andrea Fedi (Neri Sottoli) to 2’30”.

On the wet and treacherous downhill, more than two dozen riders hit the deck. At the bottom of the descent, the riders took the initiative to neutralise the race to allow teams and riders to regain composure and check equipment before continuing on to the finish.

“The rain started up the first climb, but the descent was particularly bad,” said Assistant Sport Director Julian Dean. “It’s common here that when it rains the roads are quite slippery. It was really the condition of the roads that dictated what happened on the descent.”

“Luckily for us we didn’t have a single rider go down on the slippery roads,” added Dean. “I’d say that was in large part due to our excellent tires from Continental.”

Once the peloton had regrouped, the original break was sent off with its 2’30” advantage intact and 75 kilometres left to race. Cofidis sat diligently on the front of the peloton in service of Tarramäe.

When the lead to the breakaway reached 1’, Lotto Belisol took over chasing duties for their sprinter Andrei Greiple. With nine kilometres to go, the final remnants of the break had been caught and it was Omega Pharma – Quick-Step’s turn to assert their authority over the bunch.  

As the other teams duked it out for the stage win, ORICA-GreenEDGE protected Adam Yates in the bunch. With several hard days of racing yet to come and only a six man team to ride for Yates, the Australian outfit took more of a conservative approach on today’s stage.

“Adam was our first priority, although we had no intentions of taking any responsibility unless it was absolutely necessary,” said Dean. “It turned out there was really no need to lead the charge as other teams took on that responsibility for their sprinters. Aside from the weather, the guys had an easier day in the bunch.”

For ORICA-GreenEDGE, today wasn’t a day of gains, but most importantly there were no losses. In two days time, the peloton will face what is widely thought to be the final decisive stage of the tour for the overall contenders. With Yates sitting pretty in the general classification, the priority for the team will be to protect his position, if not help bump him into the top spot overall.

“Looking further down the week, we want to be more aggressive,” said Dean. “Friday is a big day to help Adam have a crack at taking the lead.”