Baku, May 7, AZERTAC
After a hard uphill finish, just a few kilometres after an HC climb, Luca Wackermann (NASR-Dubai) won today's sprint for the victory. He left two other riders behind him, Nikita Stalnov (Astana City) and Rinaldo Nocentini (Sporting Tavira), who were not able to follow Wackermann as he pulled away 100 metres before the finish.
After today's stage there is a new leader in the general classification: Markus Eibegger (Team Felbermayr Simplon Wels). After being in the top five for almost every stage at this Tour, he now is rewarded with the blue Synergy leader's jersey. Stage winner Wackermann claims the green points jersey after his sprint of today. There is also a new leader in the KOM classification, as Nikita Stalnov (Astana City) received the red jersey after his first place at the HC climb just before the finish. The best young rider is still Ildar Arslanov (Gazprom-Rusvelo), who also today showed that he could compete with the favorites.
Where clouds dominated the views in Gabala yesterday, today was a perfect sunny morning when the riders left this city for the Queen Stage. It didn’t take long for the breakaway to form, with Andreas Schillinger (Bora - Argon 18), William Clarke (Drapac Pro Cycling), and Kaspars Sergis (Alpha Baltic-Maratoni) moving clear of the bunch after just a few kilometres of racing.
After a short while, Sergis dropped from the leading group, leaving Schillinger and Clarke alone as the two leaders of the race. They worked well together, establishing a lead of as much as 4'10" during today's stage.
The first two intermediate sprints and the first mountain points on the first of the three climbs were won by Schillinger of the Bora - Argon 18 team. It was the same Schillinger who attacked on the second climb (Cat. 1), leaving Clarke (Drapac Pro Cycling) behind him. At the same moment, the peloton split, with all the favorites for the GC in the first group. Schillinger also won the mountain points on the second climb, with Clarke one minute behind him and the twenty riders who were the first group of the peloton.
Going into the final 25km, Schillinger was still leading the race with an advantage of 2 minutes heading for the final climb of the day (HC). This advantage was quickly reduced after the first part of the peloton (nineteen riders) started chasing, with Sporting Tavira in the lead. After Schillinger was caught, the front of the peloton started attacking. Nikita Stalnov (Astana City) was the first to the top of the final climb, but had company going into the final kilometre. In the final sprint, Wackermann was the strongest man, beating Stalnov and Nocentini.
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