Grzegorz Stępniak proved to be among the fastest men in the peloton of 2016 Tour of Turkey, by finishing 7th on the flat stage to Kemer.
Stage 5 (189,3km) was another day for the sprinters. The riders were rolling alongside the coast, so there were not significant climbs on the menu.
6 escapees tried their luck and took off with 20km into the stage. The breakaway included Riccardo Stacchiotti (Nippo – Vini Fantini), Michał Podlaski (Verva ActiveJet), Kaspars Sergis (Alpha Baltic – Maratoni.lv), Peter Schulting (Parkhotel Valkenburg CT), Ahmed Akdilek (Torku Şekerspor) and Enrico Salvador (Unieuro Wilier). They were never given too much space as the biggest gap reached only 2:30.
Podlaski was not happy with the pace in the break and with 47km remaining he pushed the tempo. Sergis was the only one, who was not able to respond, got dropped, leaving 5 riders in the front.
Eventually all of the attackers got caught inside the final 10 kilometers. The last ones to return to the field were Schulting and Salvador, with just 3 kilometers to go. At that point the sprinters’ teams were already in their finishing mode and “trains” were getting formed. CCC Sprandi Polkowice also put few guys at the head of the bunch, to help Grzegorz Stępniak to get a good position for the finale.
The Polish sprinter did a similar sprint as yesterday, using the wheels of other lead-out riders to move up front. He kicked off the gallop well positioned, but wasn’t able to outsprint his biggest rivals. Jakub Mareczko (Southeast-Venezuela) took home the win, beating Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal). Mareczko’s teammate, Manuel Belletti finished 3rd.
Grzegorz Stępniak crossed the line in 7th place, claiming his third top 10 spot in this years edition of Tour of Turkey.
Today, just like yesterday I moved at the head of the bunch too soon, with 800-1000 meters to go. I really want to showcase myself in this race and maybe because of that I’m not able to keep a cool head in the finale. Physically I haven’t felt so well in a long time. There is still one stage for the sprinters left and I will do my best to bring the orange colors on the podium – Grzegorz Stępniak explained afterwards.