The complexion of the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey changed on stage 4 with the first summit finish of the race coming at the end of 156km from Izmir to Manisa.
Topping out at an altitude of 1,400m, the finish in Spil Milli Park combined difficulty with beautiful scenery as experienced Hungarian Peter Kusztor did his best to stay with the leading group but the high pace saw most of the bunch shelled early on as the overall contenders lit the touch paper.
“Our objective was to try and get in the breakaway today and then work to look after Peter and it was Sam and myself who were tasked to try and get in the break. We tried a few attacks, one after the other to try and get something going but we weren’t in the right place at the right time today and we missed the move when it went.”
“After the break I went, I thought ‘ok, I can stay with Peter’ and we try to do our best on the climb, but then a mechanical forced me into bike change just before the climb and that was it. I couldn’t get back into the group in time. The climb was hard, nearly 14km at 7% and the road surface wasn’t the best, so we rode our tempo up to the line.”
General manager Vassili Davidenko:
“It was a steady drag out into the mountains today, one of those days when you can see where you’re going but don’t seem to be getting there until right at the end and we knew it would be hard climb up to the line. The ascent up to Spil Milli Park was a real climb on a tough road surface and ended up being potentially race defining as the GC contenders set a brutal pace and it was too much for us to stay with the leading group.”
“Nevertheless, the guys tried their best and Peter fought to hang in as long as possible, but the group got small pretty quickly with every acceleration riders were getting dropped, so it was important for us to make it to the line in one good shape and reset for tomorrow.”
Photo: Mario Stiehl
— Tim Lindley to www.teamnovonordisk.com