Tour of Turkey Stage 5 Preview
Caleb Ewan took the 4th stage of the race, he took advantage of his climbing skills to beat Sam Bennett in the final sprint, reeling in Juan José Lobato who launched himself early and still finished a strong second. The stage was taken quite easy as in the previous days, the final climb on the other hand saw some moves, by Mauro Finetto and then Jhonatan Restrepo who would crash inside the final kilometer alongside Remco Evenepoel, but with the moves shut down it was left for the remaining sprinters to battle it out, through which Ewan was the fastest in the end.
Positive: Ewan and Lobato of course, they were two of the very few riders in the end who still had the final kick to sprint away whilst many other noticeably struggled.
Negative: Nothing much, GC contenders didn't loose time and there was no major contender to the stage so no real disapointments. Evenepoel's crash didn't look good though, his attack didn't seem to go anywhere and his confidence must be shaken.
And in the penultimate day comes the undoubted queen stage. With the gaps opened so far minial this final climb should provide with the majority of the final gaps aswell as the definition of the race's overall.
The stage in itself isn't really hard on it's bulk, but once they reach the 145Km mark the road starts to tilt up. They will go from pretty much sea height to a full 1300 meters where the finish line is placed in Kartepe.
The final climb can be split into two sections, the obvious first one is a brutal climb, with 12.1Km at 9.15% it's a brutal ascent by the standards of any rider, it's hard enough to see the decisive moves happen far from the finish still, it's very constant so there will be no relief until they get to the 3.5Km to the line mark where the actual climb finishes.
Afterwards comes an uphill drag but with some flat bits in the middle, the last 3.5Km average 3.7% but have some hard ramps in it, the final climb in total is 16.8Km at 7.4%, so there's no doubt the riders in front in this stage will be the ones in front of the overall standings.
The wind is coming from the north, not a big intensity but gusts may reach 50Km/h, which will come favourable in the climb, another motivation for an attacking race.
Who can we expect to see?
With the final stage having a dangerous finale it can't be said for certain that the overall will be confirmed after the stage, but such a hard climb will surely set big gaps between everyone, it's a steep climb, also long, it should favour more the lightweight climbers in which there are small differences between those present.
Felix Grossschartner is the climber with the lead so far, having kept in the front group in every stage and having some bonus seconds from stage 2, he's definetely been the best rider so far but surprisingly, weighing 64Kg, he's the heavyweight climber out of those that are favourites tomorrow.
Because on the other hand there is to start Merhawi Kudus, hasn't shown his best legs so far but he hasn't had his terrain yet too, Astana have put up a team to fight for the overall so tomorrow is his day to complete the task, even with Yevgeniy Gidich in the team although he has lost time overall. There's also Remco Evenepoel, his inexperience in the pro peloton has been noticed in the last stages, he's been making some moves that caused more damage to himself than others, but tomorrow he's on his favourite terrain and has a chance to show what he's made of, with such competition he may be able to be in contention.
UAE Emirates have Valerio Conti and Jan Polanc, the two of them should be quite pleased with the gradients tomorrow, they're both strong climbers and both have looked very sharp so far, and having each other may be the card that will lack some teams seeing they are both looking as strong as they could be.
Then there's Dimension Data, Ben O'Connor lost some seconds on stage 2, he'll be hoping it isn't decisive but teammate Scott Davies lost a lot of time that certainly wasn't in the plans. O'Connor is also said to be 66Kg heavy which won't be favourable in the fight against gravity that will unroll tomorrow.
Out from those there are some riders that have been showing themselves well, Edgar Pinto from W52, Rob Britton of Rally, Sebastian Schonberger of Neri Sottoli, besides these there shouldn't be too many riders in contention.
⭐ Pinto, Britton, Schonberger, Gidich, D.Fernandez
Kudus is my call. His performance here hasn't been the best but there wasn't any real climbing. The climb tomorrow suits him very well, he looked in great form in March and it would be expected that he kept that form throughout to Turkey. The lead isn't easy to take but he may get it too.
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