The final stage of the Tour of Turkey ran its course earlier today with Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma – Quickstep) winning the final circuit stage around Istanbul. Elia Viviani (Cannondale) was 2nd and Andrea Gaurdini (Astana) took 3rd place. Kristian Sbaragli was again the top finisher for Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung as the Italian sprinted to 9th. Adam Yates (Orica Greenedge) was able to defend his 1 second lead to win the race overall.
The short 121km circuit race started in rather damp conditions but luckily things seemed to dry up nicely as the race went on. A number of attacks went from the gun but it was only after 35km of racing that 7 riders got clear of the Cannondale and Quickstep led peloton. Youcef Reguigui found his way into the break for MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung but as the team were hoping to set up the stage up for Sbaragli, Reguigui would just keep an eye on proceedings up front. The break never got more than a 40″ gap and this ensured a bunch sprint would decide the final stage.
Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will leave the Tour of Turkey on a slightly sour note as with 30km’s to go today, the team struck some real bad luck when a crash would take out Dennis van Niekerk and Merhawi Kudus. van Niekerk was able to continue but Kudus had to leave the race with a fracture to his right clavicle (collarbone), making this the 5th broken collarbone suffered by the team this year. According to our team doctor, Dr Jarrad van Zuydam, Kudus is likely to require surgery leaving the young Eritrean desperately disappointed. Kudus was meant to head off to the tour of Azerbaijan this week where he would have been one of the overall favourites.
Directeur Sportif – Manel Lacambra
Today is a sad day for us because Merhawi crashed out. The doctor of the race said he broke his collarbone. He is a tough rider and after his crash he wanted to continue the race. When I told him it was not possible to continue I saw the pain in his eyes. He is young and strong rider, sure he will come back soon and stronger than ever.
We are happy with what we did in this Tour and how we raced. Without the crashes sure the final results could have been much better. Tomorrow we will fly directly to Azerbaijan where we hope to be a little more lucky and have some success.
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)