photo Roberto Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2017


PRESIDENTIAL Turkish Airlines Kumluca-Fethiye Stage 2 summary results
1. Sam Bennett (BORA Hansgrohe) in 6:02:06
2. Edward Theuns (Trek Segafredo) s.t.
3. Riccardo Minali (Astana Pro Team) s.t.

Spor Toto Turquoise jersey: overall race leader: 22 Sam Bennett (BORA-Hansgrohe)
Turkish Airlines Red Jersey: mountain classification leader: 113 Mirco Maestri (Bardiani–CSF)
Vestel White Jersey: Beauties of Turkey classification leader: 4 Onur Balkan (Turkish national team)
Salcano Green Jersey: points classification leader: 22 Sam Bennett (BORA-Hansgrohe)

Stage report
The peloton, 101 riders strong, left Kumluca at 11.33pm, with, most notably, a Beauties of Turkey sprint after just 43.1 km (the Vestel White Jersey is worn today by 4 Onur Balkan [Turkish national team]), and two categorised climbs: a category 2 climb at km 59.6 worth 5, 3, 2 and 1 points in the Turkish Airlines Red Jersey competition to the first 4 riders across, and a category 3 climb at km 117.5 worth 3, 2 and 1 points in the Turkish Airlines Red Jersey competition to the first 3 riders across.
After a 2km neutralised section, the racing started at 11.33 local time. Unlike yesterday’s stage, the opening phase of racing was highly competitive, with numerous attempts to form a breakaway, and reactions from the peloton.
After 15 km of racing, the peloton was still together. Then the Vestel White Jersey 4 Onur Balkan (Turkish national team) and 113 Mirco Maestri (Bardiani–CSF), escaped the clutches of the peloton.

km 43.1 Beauties of Turkey sprint (Vestel White “Beauties of Turkey” Jersey)
1. (5 pts) 4 Onur Balkan (Turkish national team)
2. (3 pts) 113 Mirco Maestri (Bardiani–CSF)
3. (1 pt) 14 Sergei Chernetskii (Astana Pro Team)

A focused, efficient ride by 4 Onur Balkan (Turkish national team) thus gave him a total 10 points in the Vestel White “Beauties of Turkey” Jersey competition, and a lead of 7 points over his nearest rivals, 87 Alex Turrin (Wilier Triestina–Selle Italia) and 113 Mirco Maestri (Bardiani–CSF).

km 59.6 Category 2 climb (Turkish Airlines Red Jersey mountains competition)
1. (5 pts) 113 Mirco Maestri (Bardiani–CSF)
2. (3 pts) 4 Onur Balkan (Turkish national team)
3. (2 pts) 112 Enrico Barbin (Bardiani–CSF)
4. (1 pts) 54 Antonio Molina (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA)

113 Mirco Maestri (Bardiani–CSF) thus took the lead in the mountains competition with 5 points, with his team-mate 112 Enrico Barbin (Bardiani–CSF) in second place on 4 points and the excellent 4 Onur Balkan (Turkish national team) third with 3 points.
After two and a half hours of racing, the leaders had an advantage of 4 minutes. Then 91 Murilo Affonso (Soul Brasil Pro Cycling Team) attacked out of the peloton, hoping to make it across to the leaders. With 95 km to go, he reached the two leaders. The enlarged, three-man breakaway led by 3 minutes at km 117, which is to say, with 89 km to go.

km 117.5 Category 3 climb (Turkish Airlines Red Jersey mountains competition)
1. (3 pts) 113 Mirco Maestri (Bardiani–CSF)
2. (2 pts) 91 Murilo Affonso (Soul Brasil Pro Cycling Team)
3. (1 pts) 4 Onur Balkan (Turkish national team)

By taking his second categorised climb of the day, 113 Mirco Maestri (Bardiani–CSF) reinforced his lead in that competition. 4 Onur Balkan (Turkish national team) moved level on points with Maestri’s team-mate 112 Enrico Barbin (Bardiani–CSF) on 4 points.
At km 124, that is, with 82 km to go, Maestri attacked alone. Affonso then countered and rode across to him, leaving Balkan to await the arrival of the peloton. Behind them, Eugenio Alafaci (Trek Segafredo), Michael Schwarzmann (BORA – Hansgrohe) and his team-mate Leopold König led the main group.

Inside the final 80km, the lead of the two leaders hovered around the 2 minutes 10 seconds mark.
At km 132, i.e., with 74 km still to ride, an incident in the peloton left two Astana Pro Team riders, 14 Sergei Chernetckii and their sprinter 15 Riccardo Minali, at the road side requiring attention. Chernetckii was treated for a facial injury, his participation in the 2017 Presidential Tour of Turkey apparently over. 127 Fausto Masnada (Androni – Sidermec – Bottecchia) was also involved in that incident.
On a small, uncategorised climb 67 km from the finish line, with Eugenio Alafaci at the front of the peloton, the lead of the two breakaway riders dropped away almost catastrophically, from 2 minutes to to 1 minute 30 seconds. Alafaci then eased off and the gap stabilised. However, it was perhaps too early to reel them in, and by km 148 Maestri and Affonso had extended their lead to 2 minutes again. By km 146, they had reestablished a lead of 2 minutes 30 seconds. At km 156, the peloton, with König and Alafaci still setting the pace at the front, had closed to within 2 minutes.
At the intermediate sprint, Affonso went early, but Maestri coolly took his wheel, the accelerated past to take maximum points and bonus seconds. Behind them, UAE Team Emirates and Bardiani CSF formed trains, and it was 47 Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) who collected the final point and bonus second. Ulissi started the day 6th in GC by virtue of the 2 bonus seconds he took in the second intermediate sprint in stage 1.
km 159.7 Intermediate sprint (Salcano Green Jersey points competition)
1. (5 pts, 3 bonus secs) 113 Mirco Maestri (Bardiani–CSF)
2. (3 pts, 2 bonus secs) 91 Murilo Affonso (Soul Brasil Pro Cycling Team)
3. (1 pt, 1 bonus sec) 47 Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates)
Using the speed generated by the sprint, two riders, one from each of CCC Sprandi Polkowice and WB Vernaclassic Aquality Protect, attacked out of the peloton, but there was an immediate response and within not much more than a minute, the attack had been neutralised and Eugenio Alafaci had resumed his place at the front of the peloton.
The riders completed the first 5 hours of riding at an average of 33.3 kph. After 170 km, Maestri and Affonso led the peloton by 1 minute 40 seconds.
Inside the final 33 kms, BORA Hansgrohe, Trek Segafredo and Androni – Sidermec – Bottecchia moved to the front of the peloton en masse, with two hiccups: Boy Van Poppel (Trek Segafredo), a key helper for Edward Theuns, third yesterday, then needed mechanical help roadside, and, as he rejoined the peloton, his team-mate and lead-out colleague Marco Coledan called the team car. Both men were soon in well-positioned in the group.
With 20 km to go, the advantage of the leaders dropped within 1 minute. With Michael Schwarzmann (BORA Hansgrohe) leading the peloton, the two leaders were doomed. Zen-like calm in the peloton: at km 189, it sat 30 seconds behind them. 5 kilometres later, the catch took place.

There were 11.8 km to go, and the race speed, set by Schwarzmann and Greg Daniel (Trek Segafredo), was immediately searing. Astana Pro Team showed themselves at the front for the first time, with Dmitriy Gruzdev leading the train for Riccardo Minali.
The final kilometres unfolded without incident, and in the expected sprint finish, 22 Sam Bennett (BORA Hansgrohe) made it two out of two. 36 Edward Theuns (Trek Segafredo) went one better than yesterday, taking the second spot, with 15 Riccardo Minali (Astana Pro Team) in third.


Turkish Airlines Kumluca-Feithye stage winner and Spor Toto Turquoise jersey Sam Bennett (BORA- Hansgrohe):
How was your day?
It was a longer day that we expected. It was hard to control at the beginning, TFS was trying to get in the b/a. We didn’t want it to get to big, as no one was going to help us today. 2 guys got away. It made the day a lot slower. We wanted them to stay away as long as possible so we gaged our pac eon them. It was hard on the legs to go at endurance pace all day ore even easier. It was hard in the final. TFS took responsibility for the sprint. We tried to get organized, but it was hard to have the manpower. In general, the guys did a fantastic job, in a hot day. Schwarzy and Leo did long turns. I want to thank them especially. We couldn’t be 1-2-3 into the last corner like we wanted to, but we got onto Trek’s wheel which was a good position. A gap opened in the final. I didn’t know if he was going to let the wheel go, or take a run at him. But I decided to go early, and he decided to take a run at his last man. And then, when he hit the front, I tried to hit the front also. I wanted to go pretty early again today. It is another good day for the team.

photo Roberto Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2017

How do you feel?
I’m happy, it’s my 8th win this season. I’m really happy about this.
What would make it a very good season?
Every year I aim for 10 wins. It’ll be very hard to do this. The heat really got to me today. I’ll take it day by day. There are just 4 more stages. 10 wins is a big ask, but we’ll give it a go. I’m satisfied with 8 wins. I’ve never done it before in my career. I can see my development. It gives me good morale for the off season.
Is it hard with pressure of being top sprinter?
I did find it difficult yesterday. Today the pressure came more from myself than from my competitors or the team. I want to be successful. I thought we’d get more freedom in the sprint, but in the end we delivered the result.
Does today’s win give you confidence for 2018?
Yes, and also after dominating – well, winning 2 sprints, I have good morale in the race. The guys were giving 100%. for me personally, it’s a real confidence booster
Talk us through the final 500 m.
There were lots of sprint trains pretty far out. From 15 km to go, we wanted to be on the right side, but Trek Segafredo got there first, and I was afraid if we dropped back and tried to come back, we wouldn’t be able to, or if we went too hard, we’d start racing too early. In the end, it was a wrong decision to be in the middle for us. It was hard to hold the wheels and even though I was in the middle, I was riding in the wind a lot. Today everyone seemed to be a bit more organised, and after the crash yesterday, no one wanted to be behind. There was a right-left corner 4 kilometres out, and it was crucial to be well positioned.
How hard was it riding at a very slow tempo today?
If it had been faster, it would have been easier. It makes it really hard when there’s a change of pace. It zaps you.
It has been the best season of your career. How did you get into shape?
After the Giro I felt pretty tired. My goal Dan Lorang did a fantastic job. He really listened to me and the info I gave him. I really appreciate that. Some say it’s in the head, but I came to Fourmies and I couldn’t do 50km. My coach said take a week, 10 days off. That was 4-5 weeks ago. I built again. I had the miles in my legs after a hard start to the season, and then I came good. I needed a rest because I started at Tour Down Under, to reset the head and body. And I needed a break.
Vestel White Jersey: Beauties of Turkey classification leader Onur Balkan (Turkish national team): ““We were only two riders to break away. I had to win the Turkish beauties sprint and I made it. I worked really well with my breakaway companion [Mirco Maestri]. He took the KOM and I kept the white jersey. For us, the Turkish national team, it’s again a successful day. But I’ll try to break away again to keep this jersey.””
Turkish Airlines Red Jersey: mountain classification leader Mirco Maestri (Bardiani–CSF): “My attack was planned but we also planned to have more riders in the front group. A third rider arrived but we were only again later. It’s been a long day but we brought home another jersey for the team. It was our goal today to show off and give exposure to the team.”
Second placed Edward Theuns (Trek Segafredo): “I’m really disappointed because the team did a really good job for me. They couldn’t have done it better. I saw in the last straight that Sam [Bennett] was in my wheel. He could come over me. Maybe I went a bit early but I know I’m not super explosive so I had to try something. At the end, I’m one spot closer to the win than yesterday. That’s positive but I feel very disappointed and sad for my team-mates. We stayed very well organized. Pantano came with an acceleration like 1.5km to go. He took the team to the front. Coledan could go into the last straight. Boy [van Poppel] was on his wheel and I was on Boy’s wheel. It was amazing. I left a little gap in between Boy and me to get the slipstream but then Sam was just more explosive. Maybe in the more selective stages I can grab a victory but today he was faster. Pantano has had a very long season, starting in Australia in January. He’s done the Tour and the Vuelta. For sure he’s really tired but hopefully he can reload one more time. The hardest part is the mental. Let’s hope he can win the overall here and I appreciate his help although he should save his legs but he put me in a great position. His team work was really good.”
Third placed Riccardo Minali (Astana Pro Team): ““My feelings were actually very good even though it was a very long stage. There wasn’t a meter of flat road. It’s been a nice and very fast sprint. Gruzdev protected me from the wind very well. It’s a pity that I’ve had to brake for a second during the sprint but I still managed to go for it. It’s my first WorldTour podium. It makes me happy. I’m on the up and I hope to win a stage before the end of the TUR.””



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