Philip Deignan was part of a three-man breakaway that led the field for over 100 kilometres in Friday’s sixth stage of the Tour of Turkey.
On today’s 179km stage from Bodrum to Kusadasi, Deignan made good of his early season form in an attempt to take his first win since his success at the Vuelta a Espana in 2009. Fifty kilometres into the day’s racing, after a flurry of attacks, a large group of 16 riders broke clear of the peloton, including Deignan.
There were a number of riders in this group who posed a serious threat to the overall lead of Bulgarian Ivaïlo Gabrovski of the Konya Torku Seker Spor team, including Romain Bardet of AG2R-La Mondiale and Alexandr Dyachenko from Astana.
Deignan weighed up the probability of the group being allowed to stay away with these riders present and consequently joined a further attack, along with Maxim Belkov from Katusha and Michal Golas of OmegaPharma-Quickstep. At one point the trip were five minutes in front of the main field but were reeled in with 8km left.
In the sprint, the dash to the line was won by the young Italian Sacha Modolo from Colnago-CSF Inox, who narrowly defeated the big names of Matt Goss of GreenEdge and Rabobank’s Mark Renshaw. Deignan finished the stage 24 seconds later, in 71st place.
The 2008 Olympian has insisted one of his season’s aims this year is to compete at next month’s Tour of California. The 28-year-old, who is in his first year with the UnitedHealthcare team, has got over a stomach bug and is currently in 22nd position in Turkey, thanks mainly to a good showing on Tuesday’s mountainous stage, a 153km trek from Alanya to Antalya.
Gabrovski leads the overall classification, five minutes and 32 seconds ahead of the Letterkenny native. On Thursday, Deignan came home in the main field, one minute and 27 seconds behind solo winner, Italy’s Andrea Di Corrado from the Colnago-CSF Inox team.
“The main goal is coming up in a few weeks’ time in California,”
Deignan said this week. “We have three strong guys on the team and there’s a possibility to be up there in the general classification.”