Jan Hirt finished 5th on the mountain stage of Tour of Turkey, which ended with an uphill finish. Aside from him also Davide Rebellin and Sylwester Szmyd made the top 10.
On a similar stage last year, Davide Rebellin claimed a win and took the overall lead. Since Italian was out of contention for the final GC, he and the entire CCC Sprandi Polkowice team was hoping for a stage success.
There was 117 kilometers to cover and two major climbs to tackle on that day – one located in the middle of the distance and the decisive one, Elmali, at the finish. Short distance made racing extremely hard, since the pace was high right from the start.
Various groups were trying to break clear. One of them was 11-man escape, which managed to go away after nearly 30 kilometers of racing. They built up 2-minute lead, but CCC Sprandi Polkowice, which was not represented in the front, moved at the head of the pack and led a strong chase.
There was a lot of movement among the escapees, but eventually they were all caught with 30km to go. Liam Bertazzo (Southeast – Venezuela), Dominik Hrinkow (Team Hrinkow Advarics Cycleang), Simone Petilli (Lampre Merida) and Daniele Colli (Nippo – Vini Fantini) were the next ones to launch an attack, but the main group reeled them in as well, near the bottom of the decisive climb.
With 5km to go the main group was whittled down to only 23 riders. CCC Sprandi Polkowice was well represented, with Davide Rebellin, Sylwester Szmyd, Jan Hirt and Mateusz Taciak riding in the front. 3 kilometers from the top Hirt accelerated causing even more damage in the field. He got some gap and only Jaimes Roson (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA) and Ilia Koshevoy (Lampre-Merida) responded to his move right away. A little bit later the trio was joined by Przemysław Niemiec (Lampre Merida) and Paweł Cieślik (Verva ActiveJet).
The final part of the climb was also the steepest and this is where Roson took off. Only Niemiec was able to follow and the winner came from that 2-man group. In the uphill sprint it was Roson, who had the most power left in his legs and took the win. Niemiec finished 2nd and Cieślik got 3rd. Hirt came in 5th, 19 seconds behind and two other “riders in orange” – Davide Rebellin and Sylwester Szmyd also hit the top in the top 10 – in 8th and 10th respectively.