Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre) sprinted to victory in Wednesday’s fourth stage at the Presidential Tour of Turkey that saw its fourth race leader in as many days.
Petacchi held tough in a 209km hilly route from Marmaris to Parmukkale that featured some serious vertical that proved a challenge for the sprinter-heavy field. Overnight leader Manuele Belletti (Colnago-CSF Inox) abandoned and opened the door for second-place rider Bartosz Huzarski (NetApp) to snag the leader’s jersey.
Eight riders played their card with a breakaway effort that almost proved successful. Tom Peterson (Garmin-Cervélo) and Svein Tuft (SpiderTech) joined six others, with Tuft only getting caught in the final kilometer.
Petacchi held off Huzarski to claim his second win on the year in a morale-boosting victory ahead of the Giro d’Italia. Alexander Efimkin (Team Type 1) crossed the line third.
“This was a hard stage because of the long climb at the beginning where a big selection was made. I still don’t know how, but I’ve managed to stay in the first group,” Petacchi told journalists at the line. “Actually I know how: before the Tour of Turkey, I’ve trained a lot on the Etna volcano with Michele Scarponi for the Giro d’Italia. I’ve climbed the Etna six times in eleven days and that was only to go back to the hotel, we’ve done many other climbs as well. I’ve become leaner. I’ve improved my climbing for sure but I’m probably less explosive in the sprints.”
Petacchi won earlier this season at the Volta a Catalunya after struggling with health problems earlier in the year. The veteran is hoping for a strong first half of the Giro, with an eye on winning stages and perhaps taking a shot at the points jersey.
Petacchi was content to get the win after some close calls in the opening days of the Tour of Turkey.
“I’ve also made two mistakes in the bunch sprint finishes at the beginning of the Tour of Turkey. (Valentin) Iglinskiy did a great sprint on stage 2 but I opened it fifty metres too early. Had I waited a bit more, I would have won that stage but if I had to chose my wins, I’d prefer to win today anyway because this was a really hard stage,” he continued. “Considering my characteristics as a rider, it means that I’m in good shape before the Giro. Sometimes I can go well in the climbs. Today I felt very good despite the rain and the energy I spent on the road. The last kilometer favored me because it was uphill, so it was an advantage for someone in good shape. I followed the moves of the riders from FDJ who did a perfect job in the finale. I entered in action with 300 meters to go and I passed the last rider (Bartosz Huzarski) in extremis.”
Huzarski takes the leader’s jersey in what’s big news for his NetApp team. With time bonuses, Huzarski holds a three-second lead to Wesley Sulzberger (FDJ), with Riccardo Chiarini (Androni) holding third at seven seconds back.
The 47th Tour of Turkey continues Thursday with the 221km fifth stage from Denizli to Fethiye. It’s another hilly stage that should another breakaway effort try to run away with the GC.
- 1. Alessandro Petacchi (ITA), Lampre , in 5:36:26
- 2. Bartosz Huzarski (POL), Team Netapp, at 0:00
- 3. Alexander Efimkin (RUS), Team Type 1, at 0:01
- 4. Ramunas Navardauskas (LTU), Garmin-Cervelo, at 0:01
- 5. Rubens Bertogliati (SUI), Team Type 1, at 0:01
- 1. Bartosz HUZARSKI (Poland), Team Netapp , 16:58:06
- 2. Wesley SULZBERGER (Australia), Française des Jeux, at 0:03
- 3. Riccardo CHIARINI (Italy), Androni Giocattoli-Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni, at 0:07
- 4. Egoitz GARCIA ECHEGUIBEL (Spain), Caja Rural, at 0:07
- 5. Jesus DEL NERO MONTES (Spain), Team Netapp, at 0:07