Sam Bennett takes victory in Tour of Turkey opener

The 53rd edition of the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey commenced this Tuesday. With its flat parcours, the first stage was expected to be one for the sprinters. The BORA – hansgrohe sprint train put Sam Bennett, the recent winner of the Sparkassen Münsterland Giro, into a good position in the lead up to the finale, where he took out the victory, and teammate Matteo Pelucchi finished in fifth place.

The first stage of the 53rd edition of the Tour of Turkey started from Alanya and led the riders along a 176.7km long flat course to the finish in Kemer. Along the route, the peloton passed through a ‘Beauties of Turkey’ sprint, which was positioned alongside important historical sites, as well as a fourth category climb, and two intermediate sprints.

With the mercury reaching 20 degrees by the middle of the day, the first stage got underway, with BORA – hansgrohe focusing their efforts on Irish sprinter Sam Bennett.

Straight after the official start was given, a group of six riders was able to build up an advantage of several minutes. With 58km remaining, their advantage was whittled down to one minute, with BORA – hansgrohe’s riders, most notably Michael Schwarzmann, controlling the tempo back in the main field.

35km before the finish, Trek-Segafredo increased the tempo, and the breakaway group was reeled back in. With the race being back together, the peloton headed towards the only classified climb of the day, which saw several attacks and attempts to break free of the bunch.

BORA-hansgrohe showed a strong presence at the front of the field, with Leopold König and Trek-Segafredo controlling the race as it headed into the final few kilometres. The BORA – hansgrohe sprint train came to the front of the race, with Gregor Mühlberger leading the charge into Kemer, where there was a crash in the peloton. However, no BORA-hansgrohe riders were involved, and there were no serious injuries to report following the incident.

The reduced peloton set a high tempo into the finishing straight, with Alex Saramotins and Shane Archbold the last remaining riders for Sam. A few metres before the finish, Sam passed through the right hand side to take an emphatic victory. His teammate Matteo Pelucchi took out fifth place. With his victory, Sam will also don the turquoise leader’s jersey.

Enrico Poitschke, BORA – hansgrohe sports director, expressed his excitement with the result of his team at the finish: “We really concentrated on winning the stage with Sam. We were content to let a small group get away, and then we worked with Trek-Segafredo to control the race. Every rider on the team did a fantastic job, and it’s nice to crown this great teamwork with a win today. It’s also a particularly good result for Sam, who notched up yet another victory after a longer break.”