Rabottini takes his first pro win, Peterson moves into the lead

Thomas Peterson is likely to become the winner of the TUR after taking the lead in Fethiye, where Matteo Rabottini claimed his first pro victory as the smartest finisher of the front group of ten riders who went clear almost 200 km before the end of the stage!

As a consequence of the toughness of the previous stage, some injured riders struggled in the early part of the race. Vicente Reynes (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and Laurent Didier (Saxo Bank-SunGard) were the first ones to pull out. But there was still a lot of motivation in the bunch. Four riders who had taken part in yesterday’s major breakaway en route to Pamukkale went again after 20 kilometres of racing: Cameron Wurf (Liquigas-Cannondale), Andrey Zeits (Astana), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Tom Peterson (Garmin-Cervélo). They did it with Kenny De Haes (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Enrico Magazzini (Lampre-ISD), Matteo Rabottini (Farnese Vini-Neri), Ronan van Zandbeek (Skil-Shimano) and Eloy Ruiz Pinto (Andalucia-Caja Granada). De Haes went back to the bunch and was replaced in the front group by Alexander Efimkin (Team Type 1) and Lucas Euser (Spidertech).

The ten cyclists away cruised with an advantage of more or less 8.30 for most of the stage. The teams NetApp and Caja Rural started chasing too late at the head of the peloton. Resignation was in the air as the front group approached the last thirty kilometres. No action was reported at the front until Efimkin attacked with 5km to go. But he was closely watched by his rivals. Ruiz Pinto was the next one to go clear but Rabottini passed him with a great determination with 1km to go. Efimkin rushed to the finishing line but a few seconds too late for beating the Italian who is a neo professional and the son of Luciano Rabottini who won the 1986 Tirreno-Adriatico.

Peterson precedes Wurf on GC by 27 seconds. Garmin-Cervélo probably has the depth to defend his jersey at the difference of the teams of the four riders (Andrea Guardini, Valentin Iglinskiy, Manuel Belletti and Bartosz Huzarski) who led the 47th Presidential Tour of Turkey since the start in Istanbul. Wurf’s Liquigas-Cannondale team is reduced to only four riders after the hard racing the cyclists encountered in the past few days.

Stage 6 from Fethiye to Finike (184km) includes a first category climb with 67km to go.

Quotes from the top 3 riders and the new race leader

Matteo Rabottini (1st, Farnese Vini-Neri-Sottoli): "This is a surprise for me to win a stage at the Tour of Turkey. I came here for training, so winning is a great satisfaction because I came out of a one-week break due to injuries, which is always a difficult time for an athlete. The motivation to perform was always there. This morning, when we went clear after only twenty kilometers with all the wind and the hills coming up, it was a bit of a gamble. On the way, we started to believe in our chances of winning and we played it at the very end of the stage. In the last 500 meters, I knew I had won, even though Efimkin came close. I had told my dad to watch yesterday’s on TV stage but I preferred to save energy for today’s. I don’t know if this wins will qualify me for the Giro but it’s the dream of every Italian boy to do the pink race, so if I get the call, it’ll be a dream come true. I don’t know yet what kind of rider I can become. I think I can go well at stage races but I haven’t won any so far. I’ve only won one-day races, but of any kind: criteriums, uphill finishes, etc. I’m a versatile rider I think. But I’m a rider yet to be discovered. I want to thank Luca Amoriello and Leonardo Canciani who supported me from the team car on this long day, also Valentino Sciotti from the Farnese company who was maybe the only one who believed in me, as well as my directeur sportif here, Stefano Giuliani."

Alexander Efimkin (2nd, Team Type 1): "I’ve lost by a very little after trying to go solo with 5km to go. Unfortunately, everyone in the front group was racing against me. I’ve tried. I thought it was a good thing to anticipate the sprint. I’m disappointed that I didn’t win. I thought I was going to pass him [stage winner Matteo Rabottini]. To move up to third place overall isn’t bad. It’s a good thing if I can finish third of the Tour of Turkey."

Enrico Magazzini (3rd, Lampre-ISD): "I’m a bit disappointed. I was going well and I’m quite fast for this kind of finish. This is a missed occasion of getting a nice victory. But there were some attacks at the end. It ruined my plans. This was a long stage and everyone was kind of tired, that’s why we have awaited the very end of the stage for moves in the front group for the stage win."

Thomas Peterson (race leader, Garmin-Cervélo): "Some riders who were away with me yesterday went for a breakaway again, that’s why I ended up in the lead for the second time in two days. Going to the finish, there wasn’t any attack, so I just followed the guys. I guess I have a good chance of winning the Tour of Turkey now. I have to look at the road book for the remaining three stages, but my team is really strong. The guys around me are really good, so I’m confident my team-mates can get me to the finish line. I feel like I’ll probably end up winning the race. There are only five guys to really watch. It’s been a long time since I won a stage at the Tour of California (2009). Hopefully I’ll get another win with the overall classification here on Sunday."

Stage Summary

Istanbul – Istanbul
24 April 2011, 114.1 km

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