Lotto-Belisol’s André Greipel took his eighth career Tour of Turkey stage win, outsprinting the field in Stage Four of the 2013 edition of the race.
Greipel took the race leader’s turquoise jersey after Stage Two—he finished third after barely avoiding a massive finishing-line crash. Had the crash not occurred he might well have won the stage.
The Lotto rider was carrying a heavy emotional burden into Stage Two: his grandmother had passed away earlier that day. Greipel carried on in the tour, determined to win a stage he could dedicate to his lost relative.
“I am happy for my team, but also for my family at home,” Greipel told Eurosport.com. “I told them that after my grandmother died I would stay here and would try to win a stage for her. I think my family is happy.
“I spoke a lot with my family at home. I am happy that they support me to stay here—it was an important race for me to build up to the Tour de France.
“I always like to come back here. I have the support of the team and of course I am happy to win another stage here.”
Greipel succeeded by being the fastest sprinter able to stay up front over the final hills of Stage Four. Other favorites like Argos-Shimano’s Marcel Kittel and Orica-GreenEdge’s Leigh Howard fell back in the very quick climb and quicker descent.
The final hill, 11 km (6.84 miles) from the finish line, wasn’t a categorized climb but with the peloton trying to catch Kevin Seeldraeyers (Astana) and Davide De La Fuente (Torku) the pace was high enough to drop most of the big-name sprinters.
(Howard, to his credit, might have had the power but also had a rear puncture with 15 km to go and spent his energy catching the peloton.)
The run-in to the finish line in Marmaris was tricky—A left-hand turn around a roundabout at two kilometers, a 90-degree right-hander at 1,500 meters, a sharp left-hander at 750 meters leading onto a narrow road, and finally a sharp left-hand turn at 500 meters opening onto a wide finishing stretch.
The pace into the final three kilometers was so quick, the peloton was strung out and everybody made it around all the corners, but no team could take control. Sojasun and Argos both tried, but it came down to each rider for himself, and none of the competition had anything for Greipel, who waited for Nicholas Ardnt of Argos to start the sprint down the middle, before launching down the far left and easily taking the win.
Tomorrow’s stage, 183 km (113.7 miles) for Marmaris to Turgutries, contained a single Cat One climb and another tough but uncategorized climb in the first half, but only small hills thereafter. A breakaway might escape on the second climb, or the day could end with another bunch sprint—and possibly a ninth stage win for Greipel.
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