Ahead of the race’s sole mountain top finish, the 22-year-old cemented his place on the points classification podium.
Friday awaited the Tour of Turkey riders with the longest stage of the week, 194.3 kilometers from Balikesir to Bursa, one of the country’s biggest cities, which made its return to the race after years of absence. Five riders made the break and opened a huge eight-minute advantage, but that didn’t spread panic in the peloton, which took it easy before ramping up the speed and gradually hauling back the quintet, whose adventure ended with 14 kilometers to go.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step expertly moved through the field and placed stage 3 winner Fabio Jakobsen in the upper echelon ahead of the urban climb in Bursa, which featured some hard ramps of 6% that took the sting out of many riders’ legs. Remco Evenepoel marshalled the front and even reeled in two late attackers, before hitting the deck in a corner after a rider crashed in front of him.
Fortunately, the 19-year-old quickly remounted and concluded the stage without any injuries, and was given the same time as the winner, with the incident having occurred inside the last three kilometers. In the sprint that took place on a flat section just over the top of the hill, Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) edged out Juan Jose Lobato (Nippo Vini Fantini), while Fabio Jakobsen claimed fifth place for his seventh top 10 finish of the season.
In the general classification, where Remco remains our best-placed rider, the gaps are still small, but this is expected to change on Saturday, when the peloton will finish atop Kartepe, the hardest ever ascent to be used in more than half a century at the Tour of Turkey.
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