Philip Deignan returned to form with a 21st place finish overall in the Tour of Turkey.
The Letterkenny rolled home in Sunday’s eighth and final stage in 56th place, in the same time as the winner of the sprint in Istanbul, Teo Boss from Holland. Bulgarian Ivaïlo Gabrovski won the tour for the second time, finishing five minutes and 32 seconds ahead of Deignan.
Saturday’s penultimate 123km seventh stage between Kusadasi and Izmir saw Deignan finish out of trouble, 71st in the main bunch, and he was also part of a three-man breakaway that led the field on Friday for over 100 kilometres the 179km sixth stage from Bodrum to Kusadasi on Friday.
Fifty kilometres in a group of 16 riders broke clear of the peloton, including Deignan.
At one point the trip were five minutes in front of the main field but were reeled in with eight kilometres 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.
“Just when we were being brought back, I went away with two other guys,” he said shortly after the finish. “It was still over 100 kilometres to go and really, really strong headwind and a straight road. To be honest I thought we were wasting our time.”
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 21st position in Turkey, thanks mainly to a good showing on Tuesday’s mountainous stage, a 153km trek into Antalya.