Tour of Turkey: Paluta sprints to 5th

Michał Paluta finished 5th on stage 5 of UCI World Tour race, Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey, while Jonas Koch was part of the breakaway of the day.

Info: Stage 5, 14th of October, Selcuk – Izmir, 204,1km

Course: hilly/undulating, two KOMs

How it unfolded

Jonas Koch pulled away after a lively start and few breakaway attempts. He was joined in his efforts by six other riders, but on the first categorized climb a 7-man group was reduced to just 5 attackers. Koch was riding in the front alongside Shane Archbold (Bora – hansgrohe), Alex Turrin (Wilier Triestina – Selle Italia), Lukas Sprengler (WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect) and Matteo Spreafico (Androni – Sidermec – Bottecchia). Peloton didn’t give them too much space though, as the highest gap recorded was 2 minutes.

Strong pace of the chase was set by Trek – Sagafredo and UAE Team Emirates, who made sure the escape is within the reach.

Koch and his two remaining companions – Archbold and Spreafico – were the last men standing and they got caught with 31km to go, at the start of the last, cat. 2 climb. Few moments earlier there was a big crash in the bunch, with Frantisek Sisr and Kamil Małecki involved. Fortunately they didn’t suffer serious injuries and quickly got back on their bikes.

Long climb, with 5% incline, saw very strong and steady pace, which shattered the field to just 30 riders. Mateusz Taciak held on to that group and crested the top with the strongest.

After the long descent the main pack was joined by a chasing group, which included 4 “riders in orange” – Piotr Brożyna, Michał Paluta, Patryk Stosz, Leszek Pluciński.

The team made sure to position well their fastest rider, Paluta, ahead of the 180-degree turn, with 1,6km to go. After a fierce battle on the finishing straight he sprinted to 5th place. Sam Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe) took his fourth win in the race, defeating Ahmed Orkan (Turkey) and Simone Consonni (UAE Team Emirates).

The sprint was from a shattered bunch, so that suits me. The group got whittled down on the climb, with 30km to go. I lost contact 1km from the top, but was able to maintain a steady pace and bridge back to the field after descents. In the finale we were well organised as a team and Leszek Pluciński led me out, helping get a good spot with 1km to go. Due to cross wind I hesitated with launching my sprint, but at the end of the day I’m happy with the result. Although, in the very finale my legs were good enough to have hopes for a World Tour win  – says Michał Paluta, who recently extended his contract with CCC Sprandi Polkowice.

Diego Ulissi retained his overall lead, while Mateusz Taciak moved up to 20th place.