Aidis Kruopis Sprints to Fourth in Istanbul; Cameron Meyer Sixth OverallSun 28 Apr 2013
Fans in Istanbul were treated to a spectacular sprint to close out the Tour of Turkey. Aidis Kruopis, winner of stage two, finished one step off the stage podium in fourth place. Although a late race crash once again disrupted the sprint, Cameron Meyer, held up by the mishap, retained his hold on sixth overall thanks to the ‘three kilometre rule’.
“Our plan today was always to go for Aidis, and that’s exactly what we did,” said Sport Director Laurenzo Lapage. “Tomas [Vaitkus] and Leigh [Howard] did a great job with the lead out.”
Stage eight followed a routine format with an early break going clear in the opening kilometres of the race. The three rider escape group steadily built up their advantage to nearly four minutes before the peloton began to shut them down on the final circuit. Turkish Beauty Sprints leader Mikhail Ignatyev (Katusha) was the last rider standing, swallowed up by the peloton ten kilometres from the finish.
“It was a straightforward stage today,” said Lapage. “There was nothing too special about the way the racing unfolded.”
With Ignatyev back in the bunch, teams focused on the finale jostled at the front for control. The ORICA-GreenEDGE riders had begun to show their faces at the head of affairs inside the final 20 kilometres, with Michael Hepburn taking on a particularly important role in the closing moments of the chase.
The Argos-Shimano, Lotto Belisol, Astana and Lampre-Merida sprint trains were each present alongside ORICA-GreenEDGE as the kilometres ticked down. A crash on the right-hand side of the road took down at least four riders and held up many more. Due to the crash, Meyer crossed the line 1’06 behind the stage winner, but because the pile-up occurred within the final three kilometres of the finish line, Meyer was not docked any time on the general classification.
Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) edged out Andrea Guardini (Astana) and Andy Fenn (Omega Pharma – QuickStep) for the stage win while Kruopis proved best of the rest in fourth place. Mustafa Sayar, winner of the stage six summit finish, took the overall victory for his Torku Sekerspor team.
“The team worked well together to produce some good results,” said Sport Director Laurenzo Lapage. “I’m especially happy with the improvements we’ve seen in Cam’s condition this week. We came to Turkey with the goal to make an impact in the sprints and the overall, and we were able to accomplish both. It was a good week for the team.”