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Tour of Turkey: Hirt in the break, Stępniak in top 10 on the final stage

Jan Hirt was close to surviving in the break all the way to the finish on the final stage of Tour of Turkey. He got reeled in on the last climb and the race was wrapped with a bunch sprint. At the line Grzegorz Stępniak claimed his fifth top 10 spot in this stage event.

The last stage was also the longest of the race. It was 201,7 kilometers long and featured two categorized climbs – one early on (at 35,5km mark) and one close to the finish (11 kilometers from the line) in Selcuk.

The profile suited the escapees, so it was crucial to get into the breakaway. Jan Hirt took advantage of the hilly terrain at the beginning of the stage and pulled away with 4 other riders – Nicolas Baldo (Team Roth), Muhammet Atalay (Torku Şekerspor) and Alessandro Malaguti (Unieuro Wilier).

Their advantage leveled out at 2:30, but with around 50 kilometers to go Hirt’s group picked up the pace and the bunch lost interest in chasing. The gap increased to almost 6 minutes with 30 kilometers remaining. Fast speed in the escape was too much was Baldo, as he got dropped.

It seemed like the 6-minute gap should be enough, but then the peloton put the hammer down and started a very powerful chase. It cut the differential to just 2 minutes with 20km to go and there was still one climb ahead.

Eventually Hirt and Malagut, who stayed up front the longest, got caught at the end of the ascent, with 11,5 km remaining. The road to the line was going downhill and the pack stayed together in the descend. The winner of the final stage of Tour of Turkey came from a bunch gallop. Jakub Mareczko (Wilier – Southeast) took the win, outsprinting Sacha Modolo (Lampre Merida) and Francisco Chamorro (Funvic Soul Cycles). Grzegorz Stępniak finished in top 10 for the fifth time in the race, coming in 8th.

Jose Goncalves (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA) claimed the win in the final general classification, while Mateusz Taciak was the highest CCC Sprandi Polkowice rider – he took 18th.