Tour of Turkey’s First Stage Winner is Marcel Kittel – Torku Şeker Made Us Proud!
49. Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey’s opening stage, Alanya-Gazipaşa-Alanya, started today at 12:55. 193 cyclists from 25 teams including 9 Pro Teams participated in the 143 km-long stage. The stage with the sprint profile was steady in general, except for the escape made to get the intermediate sprint points, which we’re used to seeing in these kind of stages, so once again, all the excitement was left for the anticipated bunch sprint finish.
While the top sprinters of Team Argos-Shimano and Lotto-Belisol, Kittel and Greipel, who rode at the head of the chasing group all day long in order to set a fast pace, took their successful positions at the crowded finish as expected; the victory was won by the famous sprinter, Marcel Kittel, best known for his escapes and time-trial performance. Andre Greipel, who learned that his grandmother passed away just before the stage started, became the runner-up, despite the rumour that he might withdraw from the Tour. Torku Şeker Spor, who made us swell with pride by having Mustafa Sayar among the escape group all through the stage, made the Turkish bicycle enthusiasts feel the moments of honour at the finish as well. Metlushenko, who surprised the top sprinters by attacking a little bit earlier than expected, dropped behind at the last moment at the finish and yet won the third place. While Greipel, who looked quite languid during the interviews made after the race, stated that he’ll try to win tomorrow’s stage, and it seems that he will proceed in the Tour despite his despondency.
Accompanied by the tailwind, the tempo was high at the first kilometres of the stage which started with a neutral roll-out of 4.2 kms. The peloton pedalled together until the King Primes at km 42,6 of the stage and first rider to escape from the bunch was Mustafa Sayar of Torku Şeker Spor. Mustafa Sayar, who mentioned that he was determined to wear the Red Jersey as we interviewed with him after the race, was the first name to pass the King Primes owing to his successful attack. Our rider who will turn 25 tomorrow, managed to win the Red Jersey as a nice birthday present for himself, as he gifted the first prime point of the Tour of Turkey 2013 to the Turkish cycling enthusiasts.
Mustafa, who continued his escape after the King Primes, was followed by Katusha’s sprinter Mikhail Ignatyev, Javier Aramendia (Caja Rural’s Spanish rider that we recognize by his aggressive escapes at the Vuelta last year), Juan Sebastian Arango of Colombia (the team which is known for their successful climbs) and Bulgarian Nikolay Mihaylov of CCC Polsat. The escape group of five, guaranteed their escape by increasing the gap with the peloton in a little while, in order to gather points from the intermediate sprint and to show-off. As the gap increased to 2’30” at km 55 of the stage, this distance between the escape group and the peloton went on increasing since the escapees kept the pace high. In the peloton, the pace was kept high by Team Blanco who was expected to be aiming to carry Theo Bos (the winner of the 1st stage of the last year) to victory, because the stage had a sprint profile, and Team Argos-Shimano who was predicted to take their successful sprinter Marcel Kittel to the stage win.
Just a few kilometres after the intermediate sprint at km 82,4 were shared between the escapees, the leading pack who headed to Alanya direction faced the headwind and so the gap which increased to 5 minutes, started to drop down.
At 45 kms to the finish, the gap between the escapees and the peloton who had the advantage of the wind, dropped down to less than 3 minutes. As the gap decreased more and more at the last 30 kms to go, time-trial champion Ignatyev of Katusha Team, saw that the escape was in danger and so started his solo-attack. He increased the gap to 27 seconds as he continued his escape until the last 16th km where Alanya’s beauties were emphasized as the Turkish Beauties Prime, and the following 4 escapees were caught by the peloton. A few kilometres later, Ignatyev was also caught by the peloton as he got tired, so in the last 10 kilometres he proceeded to the bunch sprint finish.
The enthusiasm for the finish started at the last kilometres as the teams got into action, trying to get their positions for the finish. All the teams started to struggle to carry their sprinters, including Argos-Shimano with Kittel, Lotto-Belisol with Greipel, Blanco (former Rabobank) aiming for double victory with Bos, NetApp, Farnese Vini and Lampre on the front lines. Our Continental Team, Torku Şeker Spor, who showed up at the last moments from the right side of the peloton, took our excitement to higher levels and a thrilling attack came from Yuriy Metlushenko who was carried to the finish by Serguei Gretchyn. As we interviewed with Metlushenko after the race, we learned that he had to attack early because of a problem that Gretchyn experienced. Although he was overtaken by the strong sprinters Marcel Kittel and Andre Greipel who attacked just after him, it was a pleasant stage both for our team Torku Şeker Spor and Turkey, thanks to Mustafa Sayar’s all-day-long escape and Metlushenko’s podium pride. As the German sprinter Marcel Kittel, who had stage wins in 2013 at the Tour of Oman and Paris-Nice, won the victory of the day, Andre Greipel took the second place on the podium by keeping his good performance despite his despondency.
The winner of the day, Kittel commented: “Our strength as a team is to always stay calm; that was the key for winning today. I’m very happy indeed.”
On the other hand, the second place winner of the day, Andre Greipel, said “Metlushenko surprised us with his early attack, we’ll look at tomorrow’s stage.”
49. Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey 1st Stage Results: ( Alanya – Gazipaşa – Alanya )
King Primes ( 42,6. km – CAT 2 )
|1.||Mustafa Sayar (Torku Şeker Spor)||5 pts|
|2.||Nazım Bakırcı (Torku Şeker Spor)||3 pts|
|3.||Eduardo Robinson Chalapud (Colombia)||2 pts|
|4.||Francisco Javier Moreno (Caja Rural)||1 pt|
Sprint Primes ( 82,4. km – Banana )
|1.||Juan Sebastian Arango (Colombia)||5 pts|
|2.||Nikolay Mihaylov (CCC Polsat)||3 pts|
|3.||Javier Aramendia (Caja Rural)||1 pt|
Beauty Prime ( 126,8. km – Alanya )
|1.||Mikhail Ignatyev (Katusha)||5 pts|
|2.||Frederique Robert (Lotto-Belisol)||3 pts|
|3.||Ahmet Örken (Torku Şeker Spor)||1 pt|
|Leader’s Jersey: Marcel Kittel (Argos – Shimano)|
|Mountain Jersey: Mustafa Sayar (Torku Şeker Spor)|
|Sprint Jersey: Marcel Kittel (Argos – Shimano)|
|Turkish Beauties Jersey: Mikhail Ignatyev (Katusha)|
1st Stage Results:
|9||Edwin Alcibiades AVILA VANEGAS||COL||COL||24||+0|
|13||Maximiliano Ariel RICHEZE||ARG||LAM||30||+0|
|21||Roberto DE PATRE||ITA||VIN||25||+0|
|34||Javier MEGIAS LEAL||ESP||TNN||30||+0|
For photos of the race, click the picture below.