Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey – Stage 6: Bilbao brilliant in Selçuk ascension  

Durasek, 6th in the stage, is the new Turquoise Jersey

Results and post-stage comments

For full stage results click here or go to

Selçuk, 1 May 2015 – Pello Bilbao (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA, dossard 91) won at the top of a lightning-fast final ascent in Day 6 of the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey, Denizli – Selcuk, 184 km. The exciting young Colombian rider Miguel Ángel López (Astana Pro Team, 57) was second, and another Colombian, Heiner Parra (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA, 97) was third.

Heiner Parra (Lampre – Merida) finished 6th in the stage, but gained 43 seconds on the overnight leader, Davide Rebellin (CCC Sprandi Polkowice), only 19th today. The Italian now lies second overall at 21 seconds. Third placed Eduardo Sepúlveda (Bretagne – Séché Environnement) finished 7th in the stage, and now lies third overall at 32 seconds.

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Pello Bilbao celebrates at Selçuk
(Click through for Hi Res. Photo credit: Tour of Turkey/Brian Hodes)

Result, Stage 6 – Denizli – Selçuk.
1. Pello Bilbao (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA), 184 km in 4h38’46”, ave. speed 39.603 kmh
2. Miguel Ángel López (Astana Pro Team) at 3”
3. Heiner Parra (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA) at 11’
4. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) at 14”
5. Alex Cano (Colombia) s.t.

General Classification
1. Kristijan Durasek (Lampre – Merida)
2. Davide Rebellin (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) at 21”
3. Eduardo Sepúlveda (Bretagne – Séché Environnement) at 32”
4. Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff – Saxo) at 1’14”
5. Alex Cano (Colombia) at 1’30”

Turquoise, sponsored by Spor Toto (General Classification): Kristijan Durasek (Lampre – Merida)
Green, Salcano (Points): Sacha Modolo (Lampre – Merida)
Red, Turkish Airlines (Mountains): Juan Pablo Valencia (Team Colombia)
White, Vestel (Beauties of Turkey): Lluis Mas (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA)

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(Click through for Hi Res. Photo credit: Tour of Turkey/Brian Hodes)

The story of Stage 6
The day began with news of two abandons: Marco Bandiera (Androni Giocattoli, dossard 62 – the Mountains category winner in the 2012 TUR), and Sebastián Molano (Colombia, 115, 4th in Stage 2 on Monday).

The race started fast. With the Torku Şekerspor riders under strict team orders to get a man into the breakaway, and no doubt other teams in the same predicament, the racing was intense for the first hour, during which the peloton covered no less than 52 km. There were many skirmishes during that time: at one point yesterday’s stage winner, Sacha Modolo (Lampre – Merida, 26), Adam Hansen (Lotto Soudal, 36), his team-mate Boris Vallée (37) and Ahmet Akdilek (Torku Şekerspor, 202) found themselves with a small advantage, and at another moment, 14 riders established a small gap. But each time the peloton, mostly led by CCC Sprandi Polkowice, defending the race leader Davide Rebellin (106), responded. Some light rain was forecast at the 40 km point, and the Etixx – Quick Step team attempted to form echelons in the crosswinds before entering the weather. But the rain had been and gone by the time the race reached the predetermined spot, and the group continued largely intact.

At km 55, four more riders opened a small gap: Malcolm Rudolph (Drapac Professional Cycling, 126), Jarl Salomein (Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise, 174), Roy Jans (Wanty – Groupe Gobert, 194), and the persistent Ahmet Akdilek (Torku Şekerspor, 202). Between this quartet and the peloton, Genki Yamamoto (Nippo – Vini Fantini, 158) gave forlorn chase. Jans and Salomein each had a small handfuls of sprint points, but none of the five posed any danger at all in any of the competitions. The peloton, finally, allowed them free rein.

The intermediate sprint after 76 km ended:
1. Malcolm Rudolph (Drapac Professional Cycling, 126) 5 pts
2. Jarl Salomein (Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise, 174) 3 pts
3. Ahmet Akdilek (Torku Şekerspor, 202) 1 pt

At km 81, Yamamoto trailed the the leading quartet by 1m50s, with the peloton at 4m30s. Soon afterwards, he gave up his futile chase and rejoined the peloton.

In the feed zone, Nicola Ruffoni (Bardiani CSF, 76), 3rd in stages 1 and 2, abandoned the race. At km 90, after two hours of racing, the advantage of the leading quartet over the peloton was 3m 20s.

Juraj Sagan (Tinkoff – Saxo, 17) and his team-mate Nikolay Trusev (18) set the pace at the front of the peloton, keeping the lead of the breakaway to something in the region of 2 minutes.

The Beauties of Turkey sprint at km 122.1 ended
1. Jarl Salomein (Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise, 174) 5 pts
2. Roy Jans (Wanty – Groupe Gobert, 194) 3 pts
3. Malcolm Rudolph (Drapac Professional Cycling, 126) 1 pt
The lead of Lluis Mas (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA, 96) in the White Jersey competition was unthreatened. He still had 13 points, with Federico Zurlo (UnitedHealthcare, 188) on 11. Salomein joined Cavendish, Gonçalves and Pozzo on 5 points.

The intermediate sprint after 144.3 km ended:
1. Roy Jans (Wanty – Groupe Gobert, 194) 5 pts
2. Malcolm Rudolph (Drapac Professional Cycling, 126) 3 pts
3. Jarl Salomein (Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise, 174) 1 pt

With 28 km to go (approx. km 159), Ahmet Akdilek (Torku Şekerspor, 202) collected a feed bag full of water bottles for his team-mates, and dropped back to the peloton, leaving three leaders on the climb towards the Category 3 climb.
With 25 km to go, Bretagne – Séché Environnement replaced Tinkov – Saxo at the front of the peloton, piloting their GC contender, Eduardo Sepúlveda (81), into position.

1 km from the GPM, with the peloton just 20 seconds behind the leaders, Jarl Salomein (Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise, 174) attacked his breakaway companions, hoping to make it as far as the Mountain line. Daniele Colli (Nippo – Vini Fantini, 151) darted out of the peloton. As the breakaway was devoured by the peloton, Edwin Ávila (Colombia, 111) led the peloton, working for his team-mate, the mountains leader Juan Pablo Valencia (Colombia, 118).

The long and compelling sprint to the Category 3 climb (km 162.4) saw Kenny De Ketele (Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise, 172) dart past Valencia to take 3 points, with the Colombian holding on for second place:
1. Kenny De Ketele (Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise, 172) 3 pts
2. Juan Pablo Valencia (Team Colombia, 118) 2 pts
3. Xu Gang (Lampre Merida, 28) 1 pts
Songezo Jim (MTN – Qhubeka) also gave chase, but crossed the line fourth, earning no points. Valencia therefore extended his lead over his closest rival to 5 points in the Red Jersey competition, sponsored by Turkish Airlines. It was a well-worked move.

At the U-turn with just under 10 km to go, Lampre – Merida moved to the front, steering Kristijan Durasek into perfect position for the right turn into the final climb. Bardiani – CSF riders also took up leading positions.

With 5.3km to go, there was an attack from Nazim Bakirci (Torku Şekerspor, 204). He was caught 800m later. Brice Feillu (Bretagne – Séché Environnement) led the charge. With 3.8 km to go, Berhane (MTN – Qhubeka) appeared at the front, with Serge Pauwels on his wheel and Carlos Quintero (Colombia). With 2.8 km to go, another Colombian, the Tour de l’Avenir champion Miguel Angel López (Astana Pro Team, 57) attacked. Only Jay McCarthy (Tinkov -Saxo, 15) went with him.

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal, 35) led the chase, with Lluis Mas leading a posse of Caja Rural – Seguros RGA riders on his wheel.

López accelerated again with 2.4 to go, and dropped McCarthy. The Colombian, 3m24 secs down in GC, posed no threat in GC. Pello Bilbao (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA, 91) was the next to give chase, followed by his team-mates Heiner Parra (97). Bilbao caught the Colombian, rode with him, then darted past in the final few hundred metres to win the stage by three seconds. López was comfortably second, ahead of his compatriot Parra, third. Fourth was Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal, 35). The top five was rounded out by another Colombian, Alex Cano (Colombia, 112)

Pello Bilbao (Caja Rural), winner, stage six
Q:Was there a plan today?
A: Yes, today we came here with a clear strategy to do a good final climb. We knew that the team was in a really good moment, and in the past couple of stages we saw that in the climbs we were very strong. We wanted to use that power of the team to do a good job today. They guys were incredible and I won the stage, finally.
Q: In stage 3, you had a puncture…
A: Yes, my initial intention was to do a good job in the GC, but in the 3rd stage, I lost all my chances of doing so, so my thoughts turned to this stage. We have been able to do a good job today and I’m happy now. In the third stage, I was really sad because I knew I had a great opportunity to do a good job in GC, but now I’ve forgotten all about it.
Q: Tomorrow there is a big climb. How will you interpret the stage?
A: I think the team can do well tomorrow. We have a good opportunity with Carlos Barbero. Yesterday he showed that he is in good form. We’ll try to do a good job with him, and if he can’t get over the climb, then I’ll have a go myself. It could be another opportunity for me.
Q: How do you see your future?
A: Right now, I’m very happy with this team. They give me an opportunity when my previous team [Euskaltel] finished, and right now I’m only thinking of doing a great job. I have good opportunities, a good calendar, to show myself. Later on, maybe in the Vuelta or some other race, I’ll worry about what I’m going to do next year.

Kristijan Durasek (Lampre – Merida), new race leader overall
Q: This morning, what probability did you give yourself of taking the race lead today?
A: A big chance. I knew it was the last GC stage, and I knew that I had to try because I had nothing to lose. I did the best I could and it went well.
Q: Were you surprised that Rebellin could not follow?
A: No. I was surprised when he won the first stage. I thought it was too hard for him. I wasn’t sure if I could beat him today, but I had nothing to lose, and it was successful.
Q: What about tomroow’s stage?
A: I’ll just try to keep the jersey. Tomorrow is a hard stage, but not so hard that it will be possible to make a difference in GC.
Q: Why didn’t you follow the attack by López.
A: I was just worried about GC. I thought that Rebellin would go with the Astana guy, but I saw that he was in the 2nd group, and it was clear that, if he wasn’t on my wheel, he was in trouble. When I saw that, I decided to go.
Q: What was your pre-stage plan?
A: I didn’t have an attack plan. . The race took the direction it did, the climb was very hard, and there were so many attacks from other teams that I didn’t even need to attack. That’s how I won.

Miguel Ángel López (Astana Pro Team), 2nd in the stage
It was very hard, a fast finish. Having a good position at the foot of the climb was essential. I managed to be up front, and I was feeling good so, with 3 km to go, I attacked. I was just lacking a bit of strength in the end.
It’s my first good result as a professional with Astana. I’m very happy, because it’s my first race, and I’m coming back from injury and a two week break, so I’m just coming back into form.

Heiner Parra (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA), 3rd in the stage
I’m very happy. The team worked spectacularly well with all the team. The idea was to win the stage, either with Pello or with me. It turned out to be with Pello, and the team worked hard for him to win the stage. I held on for third place, and I’m happy with my TUR.

Davide Rebellin (CCC Sprandi Polkowice), 2nd in GC: Today, I couldn’t push the pedals on the climb. I don’t know why. I couldn’t unblock legs, perhaps I needed some climbs before the final one. I’m disappointed. It was a decisive stage which suited my characteristics, but that’s the way it is. That is sport.

Juan Pablo Valencia (Team Colombia), Mountains category leader
It was a good day for the the mountains. I was 2nd in the first GPM. I thought I was going to win, but I was passé don’t he line.To morrow is the last day in the mountains, so I hope to want to hold off my rivals in the two mountain prize, with God’s help, and take this title home.
Miguel [Ángel López] is a very young rider, having his first experiences in Europe. He’s very, very good, and good climber, and Colombian cycling is doing very well.

2 May: Selcuk – Izmir, 166 km

Signing-in: 8.45-9.25 all times local (EET)
Stage start: 9.40

km 0 – 166 km to go – İsa Bey Mosque (37° 57′ 8.71″ N, 27° 21′ 57.36″ E): constructed in 1374–75, one of the oldest and most impressive works of architectural art remaining from the Anatolian beyliks, small Turkish principalities governed by Beys, which were founded across Anatolia at the end of the 11th century in a first period, and more extensively during the decline of the Seljuq Sultanate of Rûm during the second half of the 13th century. The plans for the mosque are based on the Great Mosque of Damascus.

km 0 – 166 km to go – Basilica of St. John (37° 57′ 10.5″ N, 27° 22′ 1.00″ E): constructed by Justinian I in the 6th century, it stands over the believed burial site of John the Apostle. It was modelled on the now lost Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople.
Little is known about the Basilica of St. John, with its only source being from a small description provided by Procopius in one of his works, ‘Buildings’:

There chanced to be a certain place before the city of Ephesus, lying on a steep slope hilly and bare of soil and incapable of producing crops, even should one attempt to cultivate them, but altogether hard and rough. On that site the natives had set up a church in early times to the Apostle John; this Apostle has been named “the Theologian,” because the nature of God was described by him in a manner beyond the unaided power of man. This church, which was small and in a ruined condition because of its great age, the Emperor Justinian tore down to the ground and replaced by a church so large and beautiful, that, to speak briefly, it resembles very closely in all respects, and is a rival to, the shrine which is dedicated to all the Apostles in the imperial city…

km 115 – 50.5 to go – Niobe (38° 36′ 20.0″ N, 27° 25′ 24.9″ E): The historic part of Manisa spreads out from a forested valley in the immediate slopes of Sipylus mountainside, along Çaybaşı Stream which flows next to Niobe’s „Weeping Rock“ („Ağlayan Kaya“), an ancient bridge called the „Red Bridge“ („Kırmızı Köprü“) as well as to several tombs-shrines in the Turkish style dating back to the Saruhan period (14th century). The historical figure on whom the mythological Tantalus was based – possibly the ruler of an Anatolian city named „Tantalís”, corresponding to modern-day Manisa – is said to have come form here. Tantalus was remembered for his eternal punishment in Tartarus. He was made to stand in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree with low branches, with the fruit ever eluding his grasp, and the water always receding before he could take a drink. Tantalus was a son of Zeus and the nymph Plouto, and father of Pelops, Niobe and Broteas.

km 125 – 41 km to go – Kadifekale (38° 24′ 49.4“ N, 27° 08′ 44.0” E): literally „the velvet castle“ in Turkish, Kadifekale is the name of the hill located within the urban zone of İzmir, Turkey, as well as being the name of the ancient castle on top of the same hill. Both the hill and the castle were named Pagos (Greek: Πάγος, Pagus under the Roman Empire) in pre-Turkish times and by the local Greeks in modern times. This move for the location of a new and larger city gained fame in a legend told by Pausanias, according to which Alexander, during a rest after hunting under a plane tree near the sanctuary on the hill of the two Nemeseis worshipped by the Smyrneans, was approached during his sleep by the goddesses who bade him found a city on that very spot, transferring to it the inhabitants of the earlier site. Upon this, the famous oracle in Klaros was consulted and the answer received was;

Three and four times happy shall those men be hereafter, who shall dwell on Pagus beyond the sacred Meles.

km 168 – 0.5km to go – Smyrna Agora (38° 25′ 7.77″ N, 27° 8′ 19.95″ E): The Agora (/ˈæɡərə/; Ancient Greek: Ἀγορά Agorá) was a central spot in ancient Greek city-states. The literal meaning of the word is „gathering place“ or „assembly“. The agora was the center of athletic, artistic, spiritual and political life of the city. The remains of the ancient agora of Smyrna constitute today the space of İzmir Agora Museum in İzmir’s Namazgah quarter. İzmir Agora Open Air Museum consists of the agora area, the base of the northern basilica gate, the stoa and the ancient shopping centre.
The agora of Smyrna was built during the Hellenistic era. After a destructive earthquake in 178 AD, Smyrna was rebuilt in the Roman period (2nd century AD) under the emperor Marcus Aurelius. Because a Byzantine and later an Ottoman cemetery were located over the ruins of the agora, it was preserved from modern constructions. This agora is now the largest and the best preserved among Ionian agoras.
It has been concluded that embossed figures of the goddess Hestia were a continuation of the Zeus altar uncovered during the first digs in the 1920s. Statues of the gods Hermes, Dionysos, Eros and Heracles have also been found, as well as many statues, heads, embossments, figurines and monuments of people and animals, made of marble, stone, bone, glass, metal and terracotta. Inscriptions found here list the people who provided aid to Smyrna after the earthquake of 178 AD.

Izmir is the third largest city in Turkey and the biggest and most important settlement in the Aegean Region. An important trade centre, because of its port, Izmir has modernised while preserving its archaeological and historical assets. Izmir is a very attractive for tourism, boasting spas with healing thermal waters and the deep blue sea with blue flag beaches. Nearby sights and ruins include Bergama (Pergamon), Çeşme, Foça, Kemalpaşa, Selçuk, Tire and Urla. . Its port, located inside the gulf, is the second largest in Turkey. It occupies a significant place in Turkey’s cultural life with the International Arts Festival and International Fair. The coastal road is enchanting. The districts of Alsancak and Karşıyaka offer wonderful opportunities to meet the locals in the many restaurants, cafes and along walking paths.

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