Stage Five of the Tour of Turkey was one of those rare races which inspire exhaustive acts of bicycling bravery for the rest of the season: In Stage Five, the breakaway stayed away and won the stage.
Twenty kilometers into the 178-km stage, six riders— Dmitriy Gruzdev (Astana,) Jonas Aaen Jorgensen (Saxo Bank,) Sébastien Duret (Bretagne,) Andrea Di Corrado (Colnago,) Jérôme Cousin (Europcar,) and Alfredo Balloni (Farnese) successfully attacked the peloton. This group opened a gap of 14:50 halfway through the race; none of the major teams were willing to chase because none of the riders were threats to the General Classification lead.
Turkish teams Salcano and race-leading Konya Torku started the chase, but neither r team was overly concerned. Caja Rural, Ustensilnord and Accent Jobs started the chase for real once the lead neared 15 minutes.
With 20 km to go, Argos-Shimano moved to the front of the peloton as the big teams used the stage as a rest day. Konya Torku joined in the chase, ready to move to protect the turquoise jersey.
With 15 km to go, the break started attacking itself. Jorgenson was the first to try it. Balloni and Cousins went next. Cousins went over the top of Balloni and opened a small gap, but Balloni caught him with ten km to go. The rest of the breakaway caught this pair, and Di Corrado immediately attacked. No one could answer.
Ag2R moved to the head of the peloton, now only two-and-half minutes behind, but it was too late; the breakaway had its victory.The six escapees took the top six spots.
Ivaïlo Gabrovski of Konya Torku kept the leader’s turquoise jersey for one more day, riding home easily with the rest of the peloton.
It was Di Corrado’s first professional win.
Stage Six, 179 km from Bodrum to Kusadasi, is much like the prior two stages: A Cat 2 climb in the first third and non-stop hills for the rest of the day. This stage features a healthy climb in the final tne km and a little bump before the finish.
It is unlikely the big sprinting teams will let another stage go to a breakaway, and it is unlikely the big teams won’t challenge Konya Torku for the overall lead. Tomorrow’s Cat 2 climb is the last categorized climb of the Tour; while all the stages are hilly, none are mountainous. Expect attacks tomorrow; if not, perhaps in Sunday’s final stage, which finishes with eight laps around Istanbul.