Ismayilli, May 4, AZERTAC
After an impressive solo effort in the final 15km of today's stage, Kirill Pozdnyakov (Synergy Baku Cycling Project) did the double in winning both the stage and taking the race lead of the Tour d'Azerbaidjan. Second and third place went to riders from a chasing group of seven: Oleksandr Polivoda (Kolss Cycling Team) and Dennis Van Winden (Israel Cycling Academy) respectively. There was no change in the KOM classification, with Vitaliy Buts (Kolss Cycling Team) scoring enough points to keep hold of the red jersey, while Pozdnyakov also took the lead in the points classification, with second place Mihkel Raim (Israel Cycling Academy) wearing green tomorrow.
The second stage would bring the international peloton from Baku to Ismayilli, covering a parcours with three climbs and two intermediate sprints that promised to be an interesting race like past years. After a fast start which saw attack after attack, a large group of 27 riders managed to break clear of the peloton over the first climb. Several crashes in the front group saw their number reduced to 20 riders at the front of the race.
After the first mountain and towards the first intermediate sprint the peloton almost caught the breakaway, the advantage dropping to just 35". However, the peloton slowed and the group now down to 18 riders, extended their advantage to over 2'. On the second climb of the day the group split in two, resulting in two small lead groups and one large chase group behind.
The man in the mountain's jersey, Vitaliy Buts (Kolss Cycling Team), was in the first group and managed to take maximum points at the first two KOMs, comforting his lead in the red jersey competition. On the final climb the leaders came back together, but again multiple attacks followed.
After the final KOM, which saw Pozdnyakov take maximum points, and the following decent, a group of 12 riders split off the front. They built a maximum advantage of 4'30", before Pozdnyakov escaped from the breakaway with less than 20km to race.
In the final 15km Pozdnyakov built his advantage from 10" to 40", taking a fine solo finish in Ismayilli ahead of a chase group of seven riders.
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