Baku, Azerbaijan, May 7
Israel Cycling Academy takes second stage victory while Synergy Baku Cycling Project wins home race for first time
At the end of the fifth and final stage of the 2017 Tour d'Azerbaidjan, Krists Neilands (Israel Cycling Academy) managed to hold off a charging peloton to take an impressive solo victory in Baku. In the fight for the overall there was no change as race leader Kirill Pozdnyakov (Synergy Baku Cycling Project) finished in the peloton to take a home GC victory for his team.
With four hard stages in their legs, the peloton took off in a sunny Baku for the final stage of the Tour d'Azerbaidjan. After 89km of racing the parcours entered the Baku Circuit for five laps of 14km, including a 3rd category climb at the iconic Flame Towers.
Right from the start a group took off for today's breakaway: a group of six riders including Kohei Uchima (Nippo - Vini Fantini), Remy Di Grégorio (Delko Marseille Provence Ktm), Ryu Suzuki (Bridgestone Anchor Cycling Team), Nils Friedl (Hrinkow Advarics Cycleang), Lubos Malovec (Dukla Banska Bystrica) and Emils Liepins (Rietumu Banka - Riga). The six managed to gain a maximum advantage of 3'15", but behind the race was controlled very well by the Synergy Baku Cycling Project.
The gap to the leaders dropped gradually as the riders entered the Baku Circuit, at which point the escape split into two groups. Going into the final lap and a half the last two riders out front were caught by the peloton and that was the moment Krists Neilands (Israel Cycling Academy) took off in pursuit of stage victory. With an impressive solo effort, he took the stage win 21" in front of the peloton which was left sprinting for second place behind. Ahmet Orken (Torku Sekerspor) was the fastest of those from the bunch, just in front of Edwin Avila (Team Illuminate) who secured the green Points jersey in this Tour d'Azerbaidjan.
Kirill Pozdnyakov (Synergy Baku Cycling Project) defended his blue GC jersey and the red KOM jersey with success, and as an added extra he received the jersey for Best Azeri rider. The magenta Young jersey was successfully held by John Anderson Rodriguez Salazar (Delko Marseille Provence KTM). The best team at this year's Tour d'Azerbaidjan is Kolss Cycling Team who finished with four riders in the top ten.