Mark Cavendish completed a hat-trick of stage victories when he out-sprinted his competitors on stage four of the Tour of Turkey on Wednesday.
The Manxman put his excellent form on display as he managed the day's final climb easily before taking advantage a what was a superb lead-out from his Omega Pharma – QuickStep teammates.
Lampre – Merida's Maximiliano Richeze took second place and Cavendish's trusted lead-out man Mark Renshaw earning the third spot for himself. There was an early five-man breakaway but the group was reeled with some 10 kilometres to go to the finish. David de la Fuente (Torku) attempted an attack on the final climb and led over the top but was unable to stay clear of the peloton on the descent.
Another favoured sprinter Theo Bos (Belkin) did not possess the legs necessary on the unclassified final climb and dropped out the backend of the peloton. Cavendish, however, had no problems and stayed near the front for the duration of the climb in the close company of his Omega Pharma – QuickStep teammates.
The Manxman's team then delivered a close to perfect lead-out for him with Renshaw getting him in pole-position with just 100 metres to go. Cavendish made no mistakes at the finish and duly won two bike lengths in front of Richeze to cap off an excellent day for the Belgian outfit.
Cofidis' Rein Taaramae kept his overall lead in the race as he managed to finish in the peloton. Briton Adam Yates stays in close contention six seconds behind the Estonian.
Cavendish has started this year's Tour of Turkey in impressive fashion. On Sunday recovered from a difficult position to win a bunch sprint and the Manxman repeated the feat on Monday when his team – much as on stage four – gave him a good lead-out.
Cavendish's spring schedule has been hindered by illness but he now looks in good shape and will be confident of wearing the yellow jersey when the Tour de France reaches Harrogate in July.
The fifth stage of the Tour of Turkey from Marmaris to Turgutreis follows on Thursday. It has a hilly first half followed by a relatively flat second half.
Presidential Tour of Turkey 2014, stage four
Fethiye to Marmaris, 124km
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-QuickStep in 3-14-23
2. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida
3. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
4. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka
5. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale all same time
Overall classification after stage four
1. Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis
2. Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge at 6 secs
3. Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis at 38 secs
4. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caja Rural at 38 secs
5. Merhawi Kudus (Eri) MTN-Qhubeka at 38 secs
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