Tour of Turkey: Late Attacks Decide Finale in Elmali
Etixx - Quick-Step rider Tom Boonen was the top finisher of the team in Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey Stage 3 on Tuesday, finishing 54th in a difficult 163km mountain stage that was described as possibly the most decisive for the GC.
The race became one of attrition as the peloton passed the three high category climbs of the stage. The race came back together with 11km to go, almost at the bottom of the final Category 1 climb in a summit finish. That climb was 11.5km in total distance, with an average gradient between 6 and 7 percent, with the steepest sections in the later part of the climb.
Three riders eventually went away: Davide Rebellin (CCC Sprandi Polkowice), Kristijan Durasek (Lampre-Merida), and Heiner Rodrigo Parra (Caja Rural - Seguros RGA). Rebellin and Durasek pressed on without Parra with about 6km remaining. Those two went on to decide the stage, with Rebellin attacking Durasek at just 100m to go to win. Meanwhile, riders were all over the climb in small groups chasing. Eduardo Sepulveda (Bretagne - Séché Environnement) caught and dropped Parra, Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff-Saxo), and Enrico Barbin (Bardiani - CSF Pro Team) and he was the closest behind the leading duo, finishing 3rd.
The peloton crossed completely splintered, with even just small gaps between some riders and several minutes between others. Mark Cavendish, who won the first two stages and wore the turquoise Leader's Jersey, will now wear the Points Jersey as he leads with 30 points.
Etixx - Quick-Step looks next to Stage 4, only 132km in distance. The stage is an up-and-down affair. There are several short, but steep climbs. The finish is also technical, with three turns between 1.5km to go and 500m before the finish line.