Kristijan Durasek (Lampre-Merida) won the 2015 Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey on Sunday as Lluis Mas (Caja Rural-Seguros) denied Mark Cavendish (Etixx-Quick-Step) a crack at a fourth stage win.
A lead break of four — Kevin De Mesmaeker (Team Novo Nordisk), Boris Vallée (Lotto Soudal), Eduard Grosu (Nippo-Vini Fantini) and Kenny De Ketele (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) — took off early in the 124km stage around Istanbul. De Mesmaeker dropped back, while Carlos Quintero (Colombia) bridged up, and the revised quartet built an advanatge of just over two minutes before being retrieved with less than 5km to race.
It seemed another sprint finish was in the offing — until Mas darted away with 1.3km remaining. He hung on to take the stage win ahead of Cavendish, and his teammate Carlos Barbero rounded out the day’s podium in third.
Cavendish had to content himself with three stage wins and the green points jersey.
On the overall, Durasek took the victory by 32 seconds ahead of Eduardo Sepúlveda (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) with Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff-Saxo) third at 56 seconds after Durasek’s closest rival, former race leader Davide Rebellin (CCC Sprandi Polowice) — who had started the day in second place, 21 seconds down — crashed 30km from the finish and abandoned the race.
Durasek said he was delighted with his victory, especially considering that he had fallen ill the previous night.
“I was really ill with a temperature of 38 (100.4 Fahrenheit), a bad stomach and everything. I didn’t know if I’d start today or not,” he said. “In the morning, I said to myself, ‘I have to try.’ It was hard for me yesterday and today.”
Mas, too, was ecstatic after having outfoxed the sprinters. He said his race-winning move was not planned.
“My first job to work for Barbero, our sprinter. We knew that he could win today,” he said. “But I was first around the last corner and my teammate said, ‘Don’t stop, don’t stop!’ so I didn’t.”