• Rúben Silva

Tour of Turkey Stage 4 Preview

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Fabio Jakobsen won the third stage of the Tour of Turkey, after a calm and short stage the Deceuninck squad were able to take advantage of a messy sprint, and Richeze was able to bring Jakobsen to the front perfectly, whilst Sam Bennett had an intense fight for the wheel and evidently lacked the power to top the Dutch. Mark Cavendish was a pleasant surprise in the Top3, with Ewan just behind, again caught out of position.

Positive: Richeze's move bringing up Jakobsen was just genious, it got the Dutch completely out of the bulk of riders into the very front, it was about position in the end more than an actual leadout, Hodeg for example couldn't manage to help Jakobsen. Cavendish's return for a fine result is noteworthy, it was a good sprint but above all maybe a sign that he's finally let illness behind.

Negative: Ewan was caught out of position again. Tomorrow may be too hard for him, in that case there's only one more finish for him to discuss, Lotto should be under big pressure right now.

The fourth will again bring a rough challenge for the sprinters. Perhaps a stage suited to the breakaway with the rolling terrain near the final of the stage, but also as there's no particular favourites for the stage, it may be very indecisive in the peloton and if a strong group gets up the road it can be very dangerous.

At this point the riders will be used to the roller-coaster terrain leading up to the finish, it will make things hard as they aprroach the final climb, which is 2.7Km long at 4.25%, a steeper one than two days ago, but also a more constant one, with it's ramps dragging all the way to the line. It's a finale more suited for a puncheur but there isn't any overwhelming puncheur on the startlist to give favouritism, so it'll be a true battle between the sprinters and the climbers.

The stage finish is uphill, as we can see the gradients aren't that hard but they will be draining for the faster riders. Some can handle these longer efforts, they have the advantage of having the final meters flat but the question is if they can make it that far, the tailwind and the climbers (as we've seen on stage 2) will make it hard to keep up.

The wind will come from the north tomorrow, temperatures will be quite cold but both those factors shouldn't have much influence. Wind will be around 10Km/h with 30Km/h gusts, it's been stronger on past stages so even with it coming from the side in the final half of the stage in it's bulk there shouldn't be any move. It may have an influence only on the final climb as it comes as a tailwind which will favour the possible attackers, and will in any case make it harder for the sprinter who may be in contention for the stage win.

Who can we expect to see?

Well somewhat similar of a finish to stage 2, but without the technical and narrow roads which is what caused more gaps on that day. The climb suits the puncheurs again but it's the same scenario, Mauro Finetto might be the only rider really in that set of skills. The winner's got to be a rider with more weight than a pure climber as the finishing part is flat so it will take a good sprint.

Bora is a good bet. Bennett may be able to survive the climb, but the questions around that will revolve until he's on it. Grosschartner is in good form, sprinted to second place yesterday so maybe one to consider, he's pretty light though. Then there's also Postlberger who also nudged a last call attack to the win, tomorrow's finish definetely suits his type of riding, I'd say he has equal chances of winning if he doesn't work for the other two.

Caleb Ewan, Enrique Sanz, Simone Consonni are valid choices but none had a good result some days ago, not asy to know if they can turn their luck around. Ryan Gibbons in normal circumstances would be a natural contender for the stage but he hasn't shown himself at all so far, there's doubts over his form.

Valerio Conti and Jan Polanc on the other hand showed themselves very well but the flat finish means they have to go from distance to actually win the stage.

There's Jhonatan Restrepo as an outsider, he's somewhat of a puncheur, he has a good sprint and can climb this type of hill very well, his team have been very quiet but he is actually a pretty good name for tomorrow. Caja Rural's Gonzalo Serrano is the other name that made it to the front group on stage 2, he's also got a good finishing power, perhaps an outsider to take into account as we've seen Caja Rural very interested in making the race hard some days ago.

Prediction Time

Finetto, Restrepo

Conti, S.Bennett, Grosschartner, Consonni, Sanz

Postleberger, Ewan, Postleberger, Polanc, Serrano, Pinto, Gibbons

My call is for Simone Consonni to win tomorrow. In San Juan he was very close to winning in a very similar finish, he's a lightweight sprinter and he can deal with this sort of climbs, UAE have two riders to focus on overall but if Consonni is feeling good they won't give up on a possible chance of a stage win, as the two climbers will struggle to make it happen and will want to save their legs for the following day.

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