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Andrea Guardini (Farnese Vini) won for the second time at the Tour of Turkey in Saturday’s seventh stage while Alexander Efimkin (Team Type 1) defended his leader’s jersey.
After winning the opening stage last weekend, Guardini beat Kenny Van Hummel (Skil-Shimano) to the line. Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervélo) crossed the line third.
“It’s nice to beat the likes of Van Hummel, Farrar, Greipel and Petacchi! I never thought I would be beating such big stars after just four months as a pro,” said the excited Guardini at the line. “It was difficult to win today because there were so many trains and so many sprinters who knew it was the second-to-last chance to win a sprint. I came out of the last curve and found a hole to get past Van Hummel in the last 100 meters.
Despite winning his second stage of the week, Guardini will not be starting the Giro d’Italia next weekend. Before the start of the Turkey tour, he made a bet with his sport director that if he won two stages, he’d be given a green light to start the season’s first grand tour.
Cooler heads have prevailed despite the success and the 21-year-old rookie will instead take a break before coming back for the second half of the season.
“Realistically, this year’s Giro isn’t an easy thing and it would be too much, as I already feel tired after one week at the Tour of Turkey,” Guardini continued. “I’m still young. I have a full career ahead of me. I know very well what I have to improve, and it’s climbing. All the success I’m already collecting increases my motivation for working on my weak point. In my mind, all the victories have an equal value even though there are bigger names behind me today. I’ve got eight now with five in Malaysia, one in Qatar and two here. They’ve all required a lot of efforts.”
A frustrated Farrar said his gears slipped in the final sprint, costing him a shot at victory.
“I slipped gear in the sprint and this is the second time I lose a race this year because of that,” Farrar told reporters at the line. “I had a good acceleration and I was well positioned but this mechanical ruined everything.”
The overall standings remained unchanged with one stage left to go. Team Type 1 protected Efimkin and helped drive home the pack for a bunch sprint to assure his grip on the leader’s jersey.
“A few other teams made one decisive attack in the crosswinds to try and shake out the group,” Efimkin continued. “It was a good try, and I think their goal was to catch some sprinters out and get to the finish in a small selection. But my teammates were right there with me at the front and we made the cut with no trouble, along with about 60 other guys. In the end the attackers realized it was not going to work and sat up. Nonetheless impressive.”
Efimkin carries a comfortable lead of 1:13 in Sunday’s finale, with Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) holding a podium spot at 1:33 back. Thomas Peterson (Garmin-Cervélo) remains fourth overall at 1:50 back.
“This was the perfect scenario for us to protect the lead because all the sprinter teams were motivated for a mass gallop,” Efimkin said. “It’s such a great feeling to be leader of the race. We’ll see if we can get through tomorrow.”
The 47th Tour of Turkey concludes Sunday with the 157km eighth stage from Side to Alanya. The rolling stage along the coast road ends with five finishing circuits with a short climb to spice things up before a likely bunch sprint.
- 1. Andrea Guardini (ITA), Farnese Vini, 3:05:37
- 2. Kenny Robert Van Hummel (NED), Skil-Shimano, s.t.
- 3. Tyler Farrar (USA), Garmin-Cervelo, s.t.
- 4. André Greipel (GER), Omega Pharma-Lotto, s.t.
- 5. Alessandro Petacchi (ITA), Lampre-Farnese Vini, s.t.
- 1. Alexander Efimkin (Russia), Team Type 1 , 30:22:49
- 2. Andrey Zeits (Kazakhstan), Astana, at 1:13
- 3. Thibaut Pinot (France), Française des Jeux, at 1:33
- 4. Thomas Peterson (United States), Garmin-Cervelo, at 1:50
- 5. Cameron Wurf (Australia), Liquigas-Doimo, at 2:17