Stage 6 in the tour of turkey and most probably the last chance for a chance to shake up the GC. After his powerful display on stage 3 formula 1 formolo was our card to play today and was rocking around like a duracell bunny this morning charged up and ready to rumble. The stage was not super hard however the conditions of the road and wind were certain to play there role which they duly did and by the time we arrived at the final short climb to the line it was a pretty tired peleton. So again like everyday plenty went on before the final climbing skermish at this year's tour so here's how it unfolded.
Not content with his monumental ride in yesterday's breakaway, the austrian oxe Mattias Krizek again formed part of the days strong breakaway. He must have become a bit claustrophobic within the peleton as the race progressed as he showed no signs of saw legs on the 10km leg stinging undulating start today and seemingly effortlessly blasted of the front of the bunch. Mattias has just come of a very strong period of racing in belgium where he finished all the major cobbled classics. This is no mean feat on your first foray into the hard man's land of belgium and the experience has not only improved his condition greatly but also his confidence and he has been an absolute beast of a bike rider this week. It's been really great to see Mattias going so well as he is a big talent and super nice chap to go with so I am very happy for him. He raced the month with me in australia and was certainly a crucial cog in our teams success in down under and later at the suntour. It goes without saying that I have really enjoyed racing along side him in the early part of the season, he's a great fella to have on your team! Anyways off krizek went again and again this was a perfect situation for us as like yesterday whoever chased was going to be chasing hard and that would only play more into the youthful hands of formula uno formolo on the final climb of the day.
As expected the powerfull break with Mattias at the helm pulled out a sizable gap quickly. The teams of MTN and Astana obviously wanted to chase the stage win and it meant from the get go they were riding full gas along with cofidis, the team of the race leader. Back in the group marunga motorbike marongoni and the Canadian cannonball Boivin did the perfect job of keeping formolo and I protected from the wind. Snr sagan Juraj again had the beverages on tap and fresh bottles where never far away which is real luxery on a hard hard windy riding in the gutter stage. Elia was the man with the experience and guided us through the bunch, when to move up, when to relax and was the calming mentor for the ever exuberant formolo just wanting to put the pedal to the metal! Basically put the team continued to role along as the drilled unit we have become over the past 5 stages so we were all calm relaxed and exactly where we needed to be when we needed to be there. The course was basically flat for the first 160km with 2 climbs inside the last 25km, the first a long 8km drag which did nothing to split the bunch but the final 5km kick to the line would be another story.
As we blasted along the flat and inside 10km to go our boys took control. Motor bike marunga and Cannonball Boivin took the reins ahead of the peleton while elia guided formolo and I into position. Sure enough as the climb began at 5km to go we were 5-10 wheels back and where we needed to be. The pace, as it had been all day was fierce as the peleton starting shrinking. I made sure formolo was in the perfect place and waited to swing into action. It was important to isolate all the favorites from there team mates as then formolo was not at a disadvantage to any of his rivals. Formula uno formolo was spinning his light gear and looked as fresh as a daisey. Like elia 24hrs before you could simply see in his pedal stroke, the calmness on his face, and his positioning in the peleton that it was his time to shine. As we passed under 3km to go the pace momentarily lulled and not wanting anyone to gain a respite I swung into action.
Onto the front I went and on a climb that's always a nice feeling. The old bat and ball scenario and for that time you have the honor of taking the wind in your face you are the Bat belting the ball as hard as you like!! The plan was simple once I took the front go full gas. Infact formolo had instructed me to go full full full gas as he felt so good so there was no need to hold anything back! I felt good, not as good as I would have liked this week but good enough to make a difference today and turned the throttle as hard as I could. As my heart rate headed north of 200 beats per minute I knew I was heading toward the explosion point and was committed, was just going to interesting to see how long I lasted. The pace had been high since the bottom so even taking the front I was already well and trully in the red zone but that's racing, you go until you blow. I didn't really pull for all that long, perhaps 2minutes or so but succeeded in thinning the group down and isolating the GC favorites from there teams. As I swung off and formula uno formolo effortlessly spun past still perched up in 5 position in the group it was obvious he was one of the freshest there. Sure enough 1km later the eventual winner adam Yates, another 21 year old super talent leapt clear of the field en route to the stage win and race lead. Formolo waited patiently as the race leader tried in vein to cose the gap and when formolo sensed he could serve him no more he blasted of his wheel zooming to a phenomenal 2nd place which catapulted him into 4th position on GC. What a fantastic effort by the young charger and also a performances that showed all the class and hallmarks of a rider with a massive massive future ahead of him.
Once I swung of the front around 2km to go I turned of the engine and rolled up as effortlessly as I could to the finish. I had an absolute ball yesterday working in the sprint and once my job was done today I immediately switched to energy saving mode for elia tomorrow. I can't stress enough how much I have enjoyed the environment within the cannondale pro clan here in turkey this week. We have simply had an absolute ball and become a real unit both on and off the bike. We still have 2 stages to go so work still to be done, looking forward to getting stuck back into it tomorrow.