Baku, May 6, AZERTAC
The Tour d’Azerbaijan got off to a great start for the Synergy Baku Cycling Project, as Maksym Averin finished third in the closing bunch sprint and Elchin Asadov won the mountain jersey, winning the first ranked climb of this year’s race. Asadov was part of the three-man break group which dominated much of the stage, which ran 154 kilometers from Baku to Sumqayit.
That break group was caught with only 30 km to go, and the bunch sprint was set up. Matej Mugerli and Ioannis Tamouridis led Averin in the sprint, and in the end he was beaten only by favourites Marko Kump (Adria Mobil) and Francesco Chicchi (Androni Giacattoli).
“I am happy with my third place finish although of course I would have liked to have finished higher,” Averin said. “My teammates did a fantastic job of setting me up for the sprint.”
Shortly after taking off, a three-man escape group formed, with Asadov, Christopher Williams (Novo Nordisk) and Zoltan Sipos (National Team Hungary). They built up a lead of up to five minutes. The climb came at km 58, with Asadov first across the line
By the time the field entered the 10 km closing city circuit course in Sumqayit, the gap had dropped to two minutes, and with only 30 km to go, Asadov and his companions were caught.