Caleb Ewan edges to victory on Tour of Turkey 2019 stage four

Victory looked to be out of reach for the Australian thanks to a final solo attack

Caleb Ewan took a narrow victory on stage four of the Tour of Turkey, unleashing a huge sprint to see off a final kilometre solo attack.

The Australian looked to have missed out on the win as Juan José Lobato (Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizanè) pulled out a gap in the dying metres of the stage.

But Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) used his superior power-to-weight ratio to pass his rival at the line.

Lobato held on for second while Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) finished third to hold onto his race lead, after his legs faded for the sprint.

How it happened

Stage four presented an unpredictable parcours, likely to suit the puncheurs and more versatile sprinters, over 194.3km from Balikesir to Bursa.

The course opened with early climbing, rising to the top of a third category ascent in the opening 20km.

A sedate middle section followed, with a scattering of short, uncategorised rises on the road.

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The course then grew undulating in the final 5okm, before the final test of the day – a 5km uncategorised climb reaching a five per cent maximum, followed by a flat final dash for the line.

A breakaway of five set the pace in the opening kilometres, with Mauricio Moreira (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Lucas De Rossi (Delko Marseille Provence), Ander Barrenetxea (Euskadi Basque Country-Murias), Thimo Willems (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Ferit Samli (Turkey) going clear.

The escapees rapidly pulled out a gap, reaching a 2-30 advantage 5km into the race.

A sedate pace from the peloton allowed the gap to go out to eight minutes at the maximum, but a headwind in the first half meant the bunch were confident of making the catch before the line.

After 80km of racing the gap held at more than eight minutes with the breakaway reduced to just three after two sat up earlier in the day.

Moreira, De Rossi and Barrenetxea pushed on, as Bora-Hansgrohe controlled the bunch for the much of their day as their rider Bennett wore the leader’s jersey.

The gap to the break slowly began to tumble and with 50km left to race the advantage was down to just 2-20.



With 42km left to race, Moreira sat up, leaving Barrenetxea and De Rossi at the front of a very sedate day of racing.

The pair were caught just outside the 10km mark, as teams lined up on the long, wide road to the finish.

Dimension Data set the pace with a full train, Mark Cavendish tucked in behind, while Lotto-Soudal also joined the front of the peloton.

The bunch remained together as they hit the final climb, with the main sprinters holding their position at the front.

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A Manzana Postobon rider attempted an attack but went wide and crashed into a barrier on a left turn, taking out Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) in the process.

Bennett held the front of the peloton as the road flattened out, with Caleb Ewan fixed to his wheel.

Nippo Vini Fantini’s Juan José Lobato looked to have stolen the day with a final surge to the line, as Bennett was forced to chase him down.

Bennett then didn’t have the legs to go past, but Ewan opened up a huge sprint and was strong enough to power past to take victory at the line, emptying the tank in the process.

Lobato held on to second while Bennett took his fourth podium out of four in third.

Bennett still holds the overall lead, with 24 seconds over his team-mate Felix Grossschartner.

Results

Tour of Turkey 2019 stage four: Balikesir to Bursa (194.3km)

1. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto-Soudal, 5-21-38
2. Juan Jose Lobato (Esp) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizanè
3. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe
4. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
5. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
6. Juan Sebastián Molan (Col) UAE Team Emirate
7. Jon Aberasturi (Esp) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
8. Enrique Sanz (Esp) Euskadi Basque Country – Murias
9. Giovanni Lonardi (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizanè
10. Gonzalo Serrano (Esp) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, all at same time

General classification after stage four

1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe, in 16-25-42
2. Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 24 seconds
3. Jhonatan Restrepo (Col) Manzana Postobon, at 26s
4. Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, at 30s
5. Gonzalo Serrano (Esp)
6. Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates, all at sam time
7. Edgar Pinto (Por) W52/FC Porto
8. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Delko Marseille Provence, at 34s
9. Merhawi Kudus (Eri) Astana, at 38s
10. Onur Balkan (Tur) Turkey, at same time

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