Tour of Turkey 2017 – Stage 4 Preview

By David Hunter

Marmaris – Selcuk – 204.1km

The big GC day.

The stage starts with some immediate climbing, not what the riders usually like to hear. After a few uncategorised efforts, they come to the only cat 1 climb of the race, after 26km. This climb is 9.3km at 6.7%, making it a proper effort. Once the climb has been crested, the road continues to rise and the peloton don’t start the proper descent for another 30km.

No doubt, the hill will slow some of the bunch down, but coming so early in the race means that they will just tempo up the climb. A long period of boredom follows, before a brilliant finish to the race.

Finale

The final climb is 5.4km at 7.4%. You can see that the final 3km rarely drops below 9%, this is a very difficult finish. Last time we were here, Pello Bilbao took the win from Miguel Angel Lopez, with riders left all over the hill. Expect something similar this year.

Weather 

Another sunny day, with a little headwind for the vast majority.

Contenders

Diego Ulissi – UAE have the strongest team in the GC battle. Not only do they have Ulissi, but they have Atapuma, Niemiec and Ravasi to support him. That is very strong compared to the other squads here. After competing for bonus seconds in the opening stages, it looks like Ulissi is keen on winning this race, no wonder, it’s a World Tour race after all. He can struggle on long climbs, but this hill looks perfect for him. He has a very fast kick, if a small group arrive at the finish together.

Andrey Zeits – the Kazak was 2nd in the Tour of Turkey, way back in 2011. Since then, he has turned himself into a super domestique, but he does shine when the opportunity presents itself. Now that Chernetckii is out of the race, Zeits is the sole team leader for Astana. Capable of putting a whole peloton into difficulty, it will be interesting to see how he rides the climb.

Gregor Mühlberger – the Austrian champ is developing a fine reputation for himself. He was outstanding as a climbing domestique in the Tour of Slovenia, helping Majka to take the win. We usually see him in the sprint train, but he can climb very well. This hill might be right on his limit, he will hope for a steady tempo until the final kilometre.

Jarlinson Pantano – after a very long season, motivation will be key for Pantano. After starting the season in January, I’m not sure how much energy he’ll have left.

Danilo Celano – hoping to give Caja Rural something to cheer about, he’s had a disastrous time there since his move earlier in the season. The climb is a perfect length and gradient for him, but with no hint of any form I have my doubts. If not him, Chris Butler could go well for the Spaniards.

Sergey Firsanov – the Russian is another rider hoping to reverse a worrying dip in form. It seems a long time since he was climbing well in the early part of 2016. If at 100%, he could certainly challenge for the stage, but it’s difficult to stop a run of poor form.

Enrico Barbin – the Bardiani rider goes well in Turkey. He doesn’t have the climbing ability of some of his rivals, he’ll need to try and take some risks early in the climb.

Daniel Martinez – soon to be joining Cannondale, the Colombian has the climbing ability to challenge for the podium. Unfortunately, he crashed out of Il Lombardia, hopefully he is at 100%

Prediction Time

No surprises in Turkey, Diego Ulissi to take the win.

*Overall Preview

David Hunter

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