African champion Natnael Berhane won the 152km Queen stage of the Tour of Turkey after attacking at the end of the 10 kilometre long closing climb to the finish in Elmali.
Europcar is a great team. I used to see them on television and it's very moving to think that now, people in Africa can see me win live on TV. A month ago (Ethiopia's) Tsgabu Grmay, with whom I spent two years at the World Cycling Centre in Potchefstroem in South Africa and then in Aigle, in Switzerland, won a stage in the Tour of Taiwan. And now it's my turn.
The 22-year-old Eritrean neo-pro who rides for Europcar rode solo to finish six seconds ahead of Kevin Seeldraeyers (Astana) and local hope Mutafa Sayar (Torku Sekerspor).
"It's huge. It was a hard stage," said Berhane. "I didn't expect to win for I didn't really know what my capacities were in a climb such as this. It was a dream and that's why I cried when I crossed the line. It was the best stage to win and I did it.
"We did a great team-work with Bjorn Thurau in the break. Later the team helped me a lot in the climb until I caught the rider in front (Serge Pauwels). I gave everything to win in the last meters of the climb."
Clément Koretzky (Bretagne-Séché), Jaroslav Marycz (CCC Polsat Polkowice), Björn Thurau (Europcar), Mauro Finetto (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) and Torku Seker Spor pair Sergiy Gretchyn and Nazim Bakirci formed the big breakaway of the day, later joined by Timothy Duggan (Saxo-Tinkoff).
The break slowly fell apart as the final climb approached with Thurau, Finetto and Grechyn the only survivors as the climb began.
Berhane's team-mate Thurau was the most active of the three escapees as they tackled the climb with a one minute and 40 second lead over the chasing pack, led by team Bretagne Seche.
Thurau then struck out on his own with 11km to go, but could only manage a 20 second lead over the Sojasun led peloton. His efforts ended seven kilometres from the finish in Elmali.
But the Belgian had made his move too soon and compatriot Kevin Seeldrayers (Astana), along with Berhane countered and caught him four kilometres from the top.
Serge Pauwels (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) made the next attack, riding out to a 20 second lead. But he had made his move too early and was caught and dropped four kilometres from the finish by Berhane, Seeldraeyers, Sayar and Maxime Mederel (Sojasun).
Berhane then attacked the leading group inside the final 200 metres to claim his biggest career victory by six seconds.
"To win race at such level was better than I could hope for in my first year as a pro," said Berhane. "It's my first participation in the Tour of Turkey. It's great. Just before, I rode the Tour of Trentino in which we had mountain already. I came here hoping to finish in the top five but first is even better. Now we have a (leaders) jersey to defend."
Australians Rory Sutherland (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEDGE) put in strong performances to finish 6th and 7th with both well placed on the general classification.
Stage 3: 152km, Antalya to Elmali
1 Natnael Berhane (ERI) Europcar 4hr 16min 06sec
2 Kevin Seeldraeyers (BEL) Astana 0:00:06
3 Mustafa Sayar (TUR) Torku Sekerspor
4 Maxime Mederel (FRA) Sojasun 0:00:16
5 Yoann Bagot (FRA) Cofidis 0:00:24
6 Rory Sutherland (AUS) Saxo-Tinkoff
7 Cameron Meyer (AUS) Orica-GreenEDGE
8 Florian Guillou (FRA) Bretagne-Seche Environnement 0:00:28
9 Darwin Atapuma (COL) Colombia 0:00:30
10 Nicolas Edet (FRA) Cofidis 0:00:33
1 Natnael Berhane (ERI) Europcar 10hr 48min 27sec
2 Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Astana 0:00:10
3 Mustafa Sayar (Tur) Torku Sekerspor 0:00:12
4 Maxime Mederel (Fra) Sojasun 0:00:26
5 Rory Sutherland (Aus) Saxo-Tinkoff 0:00:34
6 Yoann Bagot (Fra) Cofidis
7 Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE
8 Florian Guillou (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement 0:00:38
9 Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) Colombia 0:00:40
10 Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis 0:00:43