Michael Hepburn Animates Tour of Turkey Stage Seven in Early BreakawaySat 27 Apr 2013
Michael Hepburn spent stage seven of Tour of Turkey up the road with an escape group of six. The World Champion in both the individual and team pursuit put his time trial skills to the test as the bunch barrelled down on the break. Seven kilometres from the finish, Hepburn attacked the front group. The peloton swept him up three kilometres from the line.
“Heppy did a good ride today to put himself in the break,” said Sport Director Laurenzo Lapage. “The idea was to go for Aidis [Kruopis] in the sprint. With Heppy away, no one looked to us to do any of the chase work. We could save all our energy until the sprint.”
It was another hot and sunny day in Turkey. The spirited opening hour of racing saw several moves go clear only to be brought by the peloton. Shortly after Hepburn broke clear with Benoit Jarrier (Bretagne-Seché), Nikolay Mihaylov (CCC-Polsat), Mauro Finetto (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia), Martijn Verschoor (Team Novo Nordisk) and Christopher Juul Jensen (Saxo Tinkoff), the peloton stopped for a nature break, demonstrating their approval of the composition of the breakaway. Although the escape collaborated well, it was clear that the peloton had every intention of bringing the six riders back before the finish.
Astana and Argos-Shimano organised the chase, pegging back the escape group slowly but steadily. With the pack breathing down his neck, Hepburn jumped.
“There was only a very small chance this move would work, but Heppy wanted to give it a try,” said Lapage. “When he came back to the bunch, we prepared for the sprint.”
When the race hit the deviation, the riders were meant to ride into the left-hand lane and the caravan was meant to drive into the lane on the right.
“There was no sign at the deviation,” noted Lapage. “We were on the front with Tomas [Vaitkus], Leigh [Howard] and Aidis. They choose the right lane, which was the wrong way to go. There were barriers separating the two lanes, and because of this, they couldn’t come back to the race. It eliminated our opportunity for a result.”
The race continued without the ORICA-GreenEDGE sprint train. A pile-up in the last corner marred the sprint. Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) avoided the carnage to take the win. Cameron Meyer finished on bunch time to retain sixth overall.
“Tonight we fly to Istanbul for the final stage,” said Lapage. “We are disappointed, of course, to miss a chance today, but the guys did a good job. Heppy was in the break, and the team was on the front in the finish. It’s too bad the deviation wasn’t clearly marked.”