Adam Yates Retains Tour of Turkey Race Lead

Sat 3 May 2014

ORICA-GreenEDGE’s Adam Yates avoided a series of late race crashes on the penultimate stage of the Tour of Turkey to finish on bunch time in Izmir. The neo-pro retains his 1” advantage over Rein Taaramäe (Cofidis) ahead of Sunday’s circuit race in Istanbul. Elia Viviani (Cannondale) beat out Andrea Guardini (Astana) and Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) in the high-speed sprint finish.

A three rider breakaway slipped up the road in the opening kilometres of the lumpy road stage. Piotr Gawronski (CCC Polsat Polkowice), Wesley Kreder (Wanty – Group Gobert) and Wesley Sulzberger (Drapac) built up a maximum advantage of 2’55 in the first hour of the stage. With Sulzberger best placed on the overall classification in 34th place at 10’44, Yates and company were happy to allow the gap to hover around the three minute mark until the business end of the stage.

“In our team meeting, we had said that we would cover any early dangerous moves,” explained Yates. “We couldn’t allow anyone high on the general classification to get away. Jens [Mouris] and Damien [Howson] did a really good job with that. With the three guys up the road, it was perfect for us. We could always bring them back quite easily.”

“Our tactic today was to let an early break go and control it with a few riders,” said Assistant Sport Director Julian Dean. “We wanted to keep Adam out of trouble and ensure he finished in the bunch. We managed to do all of that. We did have a slight scare with the crashes at the end, but we did all right to avoid them.”

“The team has done a really great job for Adam,” Dean added. “Jens Mouris and Damien Howson were especially fantastic today. I think it gives Adam a lot of confidence to have those guys around him.”

Whilst ORICA-GreenEDGE could have allowed the leaders a small advantage all the way to the finish, Cannondale and Omega Pharma – Quick-Step were invested in a field sprint. They duly sent riders to the head of the peloton to take up the chase. Twenty five kilometres from the finish, the gap had fallen below the minute mark. The bunch overtook the leaders nine kilometres from the line.

“From the start, we took over at the front,” said Yates. “We got help from Cannondale and Quick-Step later in the day. In terms of stress, it quite easy until the last five kilometres.”

As sprint trains jostled for control on the front, two large crashes disrupted the finale. Several riders went down in the last swopping corner ahead of the line. A touch of wheels in the finishing stretch resulted in a second, larger crash, throwing riders off their bikes and into the barriers.

“We were lucky to avoid that last one,” noted Dean. “The boys just missed it. We didn’t have anyone go down today.”

“We eased up a little bit as we went through that last corner,” Yates explained. “We lost a couple places so we didn’t come down. In that second crash, we just got lucky. We were going pretty fast. When you’re going at such high speeds, you don’t have time to slow down, but we did manage to avoid it. Other than that, the day was quite stress free.”

The Tour of Turkey comes to a close tomorrow with a 121 kilometre circuit race in the capitol city of Istanbul. Traditionally, the stage comes down to a field sprint.

“We’re not counting our chickens before they hatch,” said Dean. “It’s a circuit race, but we’ll still need to be very attentive. It’s our main priority. As long as we stay out of trouble, we have a very good chance at winning the overall.”