Felix Großschartner (BORA – hansgrohe) won today’s penultimate stage of the Presidential Tour of Turkey and also moved into the overall lead. He now leads the race by 19″ from Valerio Conti (UAE-Team Emirates).
The penultimate stage of the Tour of Turkey was this year’s queen stage and ended with a mountain top finish on Kartepe after 160 tough kilometres. The organization decided, following the extreme weather protocol, to shorten the stage by four kilometres as snow covered today’s climb near Istanbul.
Right from the start, the riders rode in pouring rain and cold temperatures but nevertheless, three riders built today’s breakaway and kept their lead until the final climb. BORA – hansgrohe switched tactics today, working for Felix Großschartner who was one of the favourites for the stage.
On the final climb to Kartepe, a select group formed in the final five kilometres. Conti was the first rider to make a serious move, followed by an attack from Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck – Quick Step). But Großschartner kept his focus, following all the moves to remain in control of the race.
When Großschartner attacked with two kilometres to go, only Merhawi Kudus (Astana Pro Team) was able to follow the Austrian, and the Eritrean counter attacked straight away. Großschartner remained within a few seconds of Kudus and with one kilometre left, he closed the gap, before making the decisive move with 300 metres to go.
Kudus was unable to stay in contact and Großschartner took the win on the Kartepe. With this impressive performance he took over the overall lead of the race from his team mare Sam Bennett, who still leads the points classification. With Großschartner also leading the mountains classification, it means that BORA – hansgrohe dominates all classifications of the race before the final stage tomorrow.
Felix Großschartner – “I am speechless, this is the first WorldTour victory in my career and my first leader’s jersey as well. I want to say thank you to the whole team for their amazing job today and during the whole week. In the finale, Michael Schwarzmann was so strong and helped position me for the final ascent. When we were just four riders at the front, I knew I could go for a stage win. Of course, I was careful as Kudus attacked, but then I went all in and was so focused, even if I couldn’t feel my hands I just kept going. I am more than happy with today’s win, to wear the leader’s jersey means a lot to me and of course I want to bring it home tomorrow, for me but also for BORA – hansgrohe.”