Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma – QuickStep) won the first stage of the Tour of Turkey by out sprinting Elia Viviani (Cannondale) and Theo Bos (Belkin) respectively, completing the podium for the day. Both Kristian Sbaragli and Youcef Reguigui would be seen battling it out in the extremely fast sprint finish for Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung, both ending with a top 20 result.
The early animators of the race were 5 riders, Mirac Kal (Torku), Marc de Maar (United Healthcare), Gijs Van Hoecke (Topsport Vlaanderen) and Martin Wesemann (MTN-Qhubeka). They were able to gain an advantage of just over 3 minutes but with so many sprinters present at the race, the odds were heavily stacked against the escapees.
With around 35km to go, the break was reeled in and a number of teams ensured the race stayed together by setting a fast pace to the finish. The run in to the line was on a wide open road and luckily so as nearly all the teams fought furiously to position their sprinters. Belkin seemed to have the advantage with 4 riders leading into the final km nut in the end, nobody could deny Cavendish. Sbaragli would do well to finish 10th, as did Reguigui to hang on to 17th position.
Rider – Kristian Sbaragli
Todays sprint was for the pure sprinter being a short and mostly slow stage. I did my best and ended with a decent top 10 place. My goal stage is stage 4 though, it will be a longer and harder stage with a climb near the finish. Hopefully making for a small bunch sprint finish.
Directeur Sportif – Manel Lacambra
Today was a windy day and we tried to stay together to protect ourselves from a possible bunch split and also to avoid the crashes. The final km’s were fast and crazy. In the finale Youcef helped Kristian to be in the front positions but it is not easy for us to do a good final sprint against the lead out trains from the big teams. The most important thing was that we avoided the crashes and we didn’t lose any time on the GC. We are happy with the top 10 of Kristian too but we know we can do better over the next few days.
Stage 2 – Alanya > Kemer (174.2km)
Another pan flat stage, definitely another one for the sprinters.
Stage 3 – Finike > Elmali (184.7km)
The queen stage, 3 massive climbs on route with the stage ending in a summit finish. The true climbers will come to the fore here and the overall race winner will most likely make it onto the podium today.
Stage 4 – Fethiye > Marmaris (124.2km)
A couple of short sharp climbs throughout the day could eliminate some of the big sprinters but a fairly large group is still expected to arrive at the finish together.
Stage 5 – Marmaris > Turgutreis (177.3km)
A few big climbs early on with a flat final 70km’s might suit a breakaway but if there are sprinters left in the peloton after the climbs they will most likely ride for a sprint.
Stage 6 – Bodrum > Selcuk (183.1km)
A pretty long stage that ends with another summit finish. Although the finishing climb isn’t all that long it is quite steep, more of a stage for the punchers than your outright climbers.
Stage 7 – Kusadasi > Izmir (144.8km)
An undulating course that shouldn’t pose too many problems for everyone left in the race at this point. A bug bunch sprint can be expected.
Stage 8 – Istanbul > Istanbul (121km)
Final stage is an 8 lap circuit race in Istanbul, should be a nice crowd spectacle ending in high speed sprint finish.
Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey (Turkey) – (27 April – 4 May/UCI 2.HC) Team Lineup
Staff: Manel Lacambra (Directeur Sportif), Dr Jarrad van Zuydam (Doctor), Yvonne Houweling (Soigneur), Nico Beyens (Soigneyr), Heiko Heinrici (Mechanic), Andreas Beck-Watt (Mechanic)