Baku, May 5, AZERTAC
After an exciting final through the streets of Ismayilli, Maksym Averin scored a home victory for Synergy Baku Cycling Project. The win is the first for Azeri rider at their home race, and a great boost for the development of cycling in Azerbaijan. Second place went to Markus Eibegger (Team Felbermayr Simplon Wels) and third to Alberto Cecchin (Team Roth).
Averin was part of a small group that survived to the finish after breaking clear over the final climb, along with the Canadian champion, Guillaume Boivin, of the Cycling Academy Team. With Boivin's higher placings over the two stages so far in this Tour d'Azerbaidjan he assumes the lead in the general classification.
The mountain jersey also swapped shoulders today, as Mauro Finetto (Unieuro Wilier) took the KOM points on offer at the first two climbs of today's stage. The sprint jersey is also a reward for Boivin, who has placed highly and scored points in both stage finishes so far.
It was under sunny skies that the peloton left the Velo Park in Baku and took off for the 187 kilometer stage to Ismayilli. There were multiple attempts to form a breakaway before one finally got clear, with nine riders gaining a maximum advantage of 1'30" before being caught with much of the stage still to race.
The breakaway of the day finally escaped from the peloton after 30 KM, staying in front for the majority of the stage, and building a maximum advantage of 1'50". With six riders involved in this escape, Brra - Argon 18 was keen to keep their advantage in check and gradually closing them down.
It was at 50 KM from the finish line in Ismayilli that the breakaway was caught by the chasing peloton. Shortly after the re-grouping, two riders tried to get clear heading into the final of the stage: Daniel Turek (Cycling Academy Team) and William Clarke (Drapac Pro Cycling).
However, it was not to be for this duo either, and just before the start of the final climb the whole peloton was back together. On the climb, a dangerous group of seventeen riders formed at the front. From this first peloton, William Clarke (Drapac Pro Cyling) again attacked. After taking the KOM points at the top of the climb, Clarke continued to press on in front of the chasing group. Nikita Stalnov (Astana City) joined him at the front of the race, heading into the final 20 KM.
After the 3 KM to go sign, the two leaders were caught by the second chasing group. It was this final selection that went all the way to the finish, deciding the stage honours in a sprint, with Averin being the fastest on the day.
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