Philip Deignan (UnitedHealthcare) sits at the back of the break during a rough section.
By Cillian Kelly,
Philip Deignan came agonisingly close to winning today's stage of the Tour of Turkey after 100 kilometres out front as part of a three man breakaway.
The Donegalman worked hard to make it into the break but the presence of Michal Golas (OmegaPharma-Quickstep) among the three escapees, who was a considerable threat in the general classification, ultimately scuppered Deignan's chances of fighting for the stage win.
Deignan (United Healthcare) had said at the start of the week that he felt his form coming and that he would try and go for a win on one of the mountain stages. On today's 179km stage from Bodrum to Kusadasi, Deignan made good on that promise in an attempt to take his first win since his success at the 2009 Vuelta a Espana.
Fifty kilometres into the day's racing, after a flurry of attacks, a large group of 16 riders broke clear of the peloton, including Deignan. There were a number of riders in this group who posed a serious threat to the overall lead of Ivaïlo Gabrovski (Konya Torku Seker Spor), including Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Alexandr Dyachenko (Astana).
Deignan weighed up the probability of the group being allowed to stay away with these riders present and consequently joined a further attack, along with Maxim Belkov (Katusha) and Michal Golas (OmegaPharma-Quickstep). The trio worked together to establish a lead, as the remainder of the group behind, as expected, were re-absorbed by the main pack.
The break managed to create a maximum lead of almost five minutes but with Golas only 3'02" behind the overall lead, the teams of the top G.C. riders began to control the pace of the peloton.
With 20km to go, the gap was as low as 30 seconds, but the rhythm of the peloton was broken by aggressive attacking racing at the front which caused the lead to go over the minute mark once more.
Riders who attempted to bridge the gap to Deignan's group included the winner of Stage Two, Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) and former An Post-Sean Kelly rider, Andrew Fenn (OmegaPharma-QuickStep).
But despite Deignan working extremely well with his two breakaway companions, they were ultimately reeled in with just 8km left to the finish in Kusadasi. Subsequently, a number of counter-attacks came flying out of the bunch, but each one was reeled back in as there was a general regrouping and a bunch sprint ensued.
The dash to the line was won by the young Italian Sacha Modolo (Colnago-CSF Inox) who narrowly defeated the big names of Matt Goss (GreenEdge) and Mark Renshaw (Rabobank).
Although he didn't take the stage win today, Deignan will be encouraged by the fact that he had the legs to be off the front for such a long time. This bodes extremely well as one of his major goals for the season approaches next month, the Tour of California, where Deignan will be assuming a leadership role of his United Healthcare team.
Tour of Turkey
Stage Six: Bodrum to Kusadasi (179km)
1. Sacha Modolo (Colnago-CSF Inox) 4:34:00
2. Matt Goss (GreenEdge) s.t.
3. Mark Renshaw (Rabobank) s.t.
4. Juan Jose Haedo (Saxo Bank) s.t.
5. Alexey Tsatevitch (Katusha) s.t.
6. Rafael De Mattas (Farnese Vini) s.t.
7. Daniele Colli (Team Type 1) s.t.
8. Davide Vigano (Lampre-ISD) s.t.
9. Marco Coledan (Colnago-CSF-Inox) s.t.
10. Blaz Jarc (Team NetApp) s.t.
71. Philip Deignan (Irl) UnitedHealthcare at 24 seconds
General Classification after Stage Six
1. 1 Ivaïlo Gabrovski (Konya Torku Seker Spor) 23:22:57
2 Alexandr Dyachenko (Astana) at 1 minute 33 seconds
3 Danail Andonov Petrov (Caja Rural) at 1 minute 38 seconds
4 Adrian Palomares Villaplana (Andalucia) at 1 minute 44 seconds
5 Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) at 2 minutes 1 second
6 Alexander Efimkin (Team Type 1-Sanofi) at 2 minutes 23 seconds
7 Florian Guillou (Bretagne - Schuller) at 2 minutes 29 seconds
8 Enrico Battaglin (Colnago - CSF Inox) at 2 minutes 58 seconds
9 Michal Golas (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) at 3 minutes 2 seconds
10 William Routley (Spidertech) at 3 minutes 14 seconds
22 Philip Deignan (Irl) UnitedHealthcare at 5 minutes, 32 seconds