Mark Cavendish has apologised to his Omega Pharma – QuickStep teammates after only finishing third on the penultimate stage of the Tour of Turkey as Adam Yates remained first overall.
After surviving a number of crashes on the 85 miles from Kusudasi to Izmir, Italian Elia Viviani claimed his second stage win in three days as he out-sprinted Cannondale teammate Andrea Guardini and Cavendish.
The Manxman posted an apology on Twitter: “Can’t remember when I last let @opqscyclingteam down as bad after perfect work. Sorry guys. But congrats again to @eliavivian.”
Cavendish and his team had opened the Tour in excellent form, with the sprinter winning three out of the first four stages. However, Viviani has now beaten him in the last two sprint finishes. The Italian stayed in Cavendish's slipstream before bursting past the Briton just 100 metres from the finish line.
“I have never won in this mode before,” Viviani said.
“It was more difficult than my last win because so many riders were out and there were some many metres between me and Cavendish.
“I’m really, really happy for this second stage win — this is the confirmation of my first win over Cavendish. My condition is at the top now and that’s been my focus over eight stages to build my condition for my main goal the Giro d'Italia.”
Yates kept his position as the overall leader, just one second in front of Rein Taaramae of Estonia. 21-year-old Yates, riding for Orica-GreenEdge, took the lead on Friday when he won on the uphill finish.
Yates now looks likely to win the Tour barring a mistake or any accidents on the final stage, a 75-mile ride around Istanbul, where Taaramae will have precious few opportunities to do anything about the Briton's lead.
It could easily become double delight for Britain as Chris Froome is the overwhelming favourite to win his second consecutive Tour of Romandie ahead of the final stage.
The Team Sky rider currently sits one second behind Simon Spilak in the general classification but is expected to beat the Slovenian comfortably in the 11.5-mile individual time trial which will conclude the Tour.
Michael Albasini won his third stage of the event when he took Saturday's fourth stage. Albasini, who also was victorious on the first and second stage, was the quickest as a five-man breakaway sprinted for the finish. Thomas Voeckler was second and Jan Bakelants finished third.
Tour of Turkey 2014, stage seven: Kusadasi to Izmir, 132km
1. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondalein 3-04-25
2. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana
3. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
4. Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Lotto-Belisol
5. Theo Bos (Ned) Belkin
6. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka
7. Ahmet Orken (Tur) Torku
8. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen
9. Ken Hanson (USA) UnitedHealthcare
10. Wouter Wippert (Ned) Drapac all same time
Overall classification after stage seven
1. Adam Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge in 27-51-22
2. Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis at 1 sec
3. Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis at 39 secs
4. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale at 40 secs
5. Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Polsat at 44 secs
6. Juan Jose Cobo (Spa) Torku at 45 secs
7. Kristijan Durasek (Cro) Lampre-Merida at 45 secs
8. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caja Rural at 47 secs
9. Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto-Belisol Team at 54 secs
10. Enrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 1-04
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