Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick Step) took his third straight stage win in the 56th Presidential Tour of Turkey, an exploit he hadn’t achieved since the 2013 Tour of Qatar. He made it in Kemer where he already imposed himself back in 2014. In stage 4 like the day before, the same top 3 came out of the bunch sprint with Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) and Stanislas Aniolkowski (Bingoal Pauwels Sauce WB) rounding out the podium.

“It’s nice to win again”, Cavendish reacted. “Jasper Philipsen is probably my main rival for the sprints here. He won the Scheldeprijs, which is the world championship of the sprinters a week ago. I knew he’d be the man to beat here, especially with a strong Alpecin-Fenix team here. It was the case of using that. He was straight up. I wanted to take his wheel but that Italian guy from B&B [Luca Mozzato] was there, he was nearly good positioning but he’s not really strong so I know when he’s there, he’s gonna lose it. He ended up in front of me and I knew it would make it difficult because he wouldn’t be able to go when Philipsen goes. So I waited and I got ready to anticipate to jump as quick as possible so I could close to Philipsen and it was actually a very long sprint with a headwind finish.”

It took 25km of super fast racing before a breakaway was formed of three riders: Stanislau Bazhkou (Minsk), Ivar Slik (Ablock CT) and Kent Ross (Wildlife Generation). Ivan Chiarniauski (Minsk) joined them for a little while before dropping back. Slik won the Beauties of Turkey prime at km 35.8 to move into the white jersey and dropped back right after the sprint. He was replaced at the front by Nur Aiman Rosli (Sapura) who had attacked solo from the bunch. The new leading trio reached a maximum advantage of 3’50’’ at km 40 of racing. Rosli won the intermediate sprint at km 106.7 ahead of Ross and Bazhkou. The peloton brought the deficit down to one minute within 50km to go. Rosli also won the only KOM of the day 27km before the end and it was all together again for the remaining 23 kilometres of racing.

Bardiani CSF-Faizanè, Spor Toto and EOLO-Kometa tried to upset the teams of the top sprinters. But at the end, it was a photocopy of the previous day’s result. Philipsen was fuming and left speechless after he launched the sprint but lost to Cavendish while Aniolkowski, third, said: “It’s the second day with the same top 3 so we’re probably three of the fastest guys in this peloton. Today everyone is in the same place as yesterday. For me, it proves yesterday’s result was not by chance. I tried to fight for position but today it was crazy because a lot of guys wanted to sit behind Cavendish. At one moment, I lost this position but in the last 300 metres I was again behind Mark and today again I had enough power and energy for third place.”

Slik, the new Beauties of Turkey leader, commented: “I wanted to have the white jersey. After stage 1, I had 3 points. So I knew if I’d win this sprint, I’d have the jersey. The plan succeeded. It was nice. I had decided before the sprint that I would sit up and wait for the peloton. It was another long stage for sprinters on an easy course with wide roads. I didn’t feel like riding all day at the front with three men for an advantage of three minutes and then get caught in the finale. It’s been the same scenario for four days in a row. From tomorrow on, it’ll be a different kind of race.”

King of the Mountains Vitaliy Buts was already focusing on the queen stage to Elmali set to define the overall classification as well as the KOM competition: “It’s been another right day today. I got some more rest. But tomorrow we should go on the attack again to defend the red jersey. It’s a hard day tomorrow with two first category climbs. Let’s hope to do well. I only know the final climb but I’ll try to break away and take KOM points on the way.”