By Nigel Wynn
Italian Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) won stage five of the 2015 Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey on Thursday.
Modolo took the sprint win - his first of the 2015 season - from a reduced bunch after a draggy uphill finish to the line in Pamukkale. Spainiard Carlos Barbero (Caja Rural) placed second, with Australian Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff-Saxo) in third.
Winner of stages one and two, Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep) dropped out of the lead group in the final 500 metres, and did not contest the sprint finale.
Davide Rebellin (CCC Sprandi) placed ninth on the stage to slightly extend his overall lead over second-placed Kristijan Durasek (Lampre-Merida).
An escape group got away as soon as the race started in Mugla, consisting of Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Alessandro Bazzana (UnitedHealthcare) and Frederick Veuchelen (Wanty Groupe Gobert). The trio's gap grew to over seven minutes, but then started to dwindle over the day's minor categorised climbs and they were caught with 50km to go.
A nine-man group then went away, but their time out front was short-lived thanks to some pace-setting in the peloton by Etixx-QuickStep, with the race all together again with 35km to go. A few solo attacks were also quickly mopped up.
Etixx-QuickStep continued to work hard at the front of the peloton with points classification leader Cavendish tucked in at the end of the blue, black and white line, and were joined in pace-making by Orica-GreenEdge.
As the road started to rise to the line several riders launched attacks to try and catch the sprinters out, and the frantic chase meant that Etixx soon ran out of men to lead out Cavendish. Modolo measured his sprint effort perfectly to pip his rivals on the line.
One person not present to contest the finish was stage four winner Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), who withdrew from the race before the stage start to commence his Giro d'Italia preparations.
It's a day for the overall contenders on Friday, with a 189km stage from Denizli finishing with a long category one uphill slog to the line in Selcuk.
Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey 2015, stage five: Mugla to Pamukkale, 159.9km
1. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida
2. Carlos Barbero (Spa) Caja Rural
3. Jay McCarthy (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo
4. Michal Kolar (Slo) Tinkoff-Saxo
5. Manuel Belletti (Southeast)
6. Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto-Soudal
7. Eduard Prades (Spa) Caja Rural
8. Daniele Ratto (Ita) UnitedHealthcare
9. Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
10. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Caja Rural all same time
Overall classification after stage five (provisional)
1. Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
2. Kristijan Durasek (Cro) Lampre-Merida at 22 secs
3. Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Bretagne-Seche Environnement at 54 secs
4. Jay McCarthy (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1-20
5. Serge Pauwels (Bel) MTN-Qhubeka at 1-38
6. Enrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 1-39
7. Daniele Ratto (Ita) UnitedHealthcare at 1-42
8. Alex Cano (Col) Colombia at 1-56
9. Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 2-11
10. Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto-Soudal at 2-12
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