It is the role of the Presidential Tour of Turkey to reveal young talent and the beautiful 5th stage from Marmaris, the second longest in this edition, put unheralded Italian Andrea Di Corrado in the spotlight with his first professional victory at 23. The neo-pro, who joined Team Colnago this season, timed his move to perfection, parting company with his five breakaway companions ten kilometres from the finish line to win on his own in Turgutreis.
The six had used the picturesque roads at the start of the stage to move away from the pack and to avoid a likely bunch sprint. Jonas Jorgensen (SAX) was second, 40 seconds behind, ahead of France’s Jerome Cousin (EUC), who both tried to attack in vain in the finale.
The peloton, including Turquoise jersey holder Ivailo Gabrovski (KTS), made it home 1:27 behind the day’s winner.
The decisive break took shape after 15 kilometres when Di Corrado, Jorgensen and Cousin went with Dmitryi Guzdev (AST), Sebastien Duret (BSC) and Alfredo Balloni (FAR). The small winding roads around the sublime little creeks of the Aegean Sea favoured the escapees, who built a solid lead topping at 14:50 at kilometre 85. At that stage, Duret, 24th overall 5:17 behind Gabrovski, was the virtual race leader.
Balloni won the Turkish Beautry sprint (km 28.8) but the competition’s jersey remained on the back of compatriot Matteo Fedi (UNA). Di Corrado also snatched the day’s climbing laurels as he was first at the top of the only registered climb in Abkük (2nd cat, km 53.8).
The chase, led by teams Accent Jobs, Caja Rural and Ustensilnord Named, gained momentum back in the valley and the gap went down steadily, even though Accent Jobs lost one of their riders, Rob Goris, punished for clinging to his team car.
With 25 kms to go, as the lead was down to 4:45, Duret was no longer the virtual Turquoise jersey holder. The Frenchman took a consolation prize by winning the Bodrum sprint (km 157.8).
Sensing that the peloton, led at that stage by Marcel Kittel’s Argos Shimano team-mates, was making it back, the break’s solidarity went to pieces. Each one of the six escapees tried to attack in turn but the sharpest move was launched by Di Corrado 10 kms from the line. The Italian rookie surged like an old pro while his companions were watching each other. They did not see him again before the podium…
An interview with the winner:
How do you feel about this victory?
“I’m very happy because it’s my first pro victory. I thought a lot about my grandfather, who died in February. Thinking of him helped me a lot during the break. I dedicate this victory to my family, to the Colnago team who helped me turn pro and to everyone who loves me.
How did you time your move?
I had checked the finale on the map and noticed that last bump ten kilometres from the finish. I knew it was the right time to attack. I tried and it worked out fine.
What is the problem with your car ?
Coming here I parked my car at the Bologna airport and I lost my keys. I have no idea where they are. In life, I’m a bit absent-minded but on a bike I’m focused and determined. I always try my best and that’s the way to success.
What was your goal coming in the Tour of Turkey?
To me, the Tour of Turkey is a chance to do well and to earn my berth in the Giro d’Italia. I hope my victory today and my overall performance here will help to be part of the team.
Is there a rider you admire particularly ?
I often train with Marco Pinotti and he’s the type of rider I would like to become. I’m kind of an all-rounder. I hope to make a good career as a domestique and to join a break from time to time to win a race like I did today.
Isn’t it too hard to be part of a small team?
We tried everyday with Enrico Battaglin for the GC or Sacha Modolo for the sprints. We’re a young team and it’s a great satisfaction to manage to win as a young team.
What will be your ambitions in the Giro?
In the Giro, our goal will be to obtain a good GC result with Domenico Pozzovivo and in the sprints with Modolo. Also to be in the breaks and look for stage wins.