QSPRS / Yuzuru Sunada

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team has announced its squad for the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey. The 1174 kilometer race, from April 27th to May 4th, will have several stages for the sprints, but also some chances for the climbers.

The third stage will be the first chance for the GC riders to make their mark. The stage, from Finike to Elmali, finishes on Category 1 Gogubeli Pass. However, there is also a Category 1 climb, Kuruovabeli, at kilometer 104.8 of 185. Riders will have to get over that to be able to contend the finish on that challenging ascent. The fifth stage features some difficult climbing sections, though it may still end in a sprint finish in Turgutreis. Then there is Stage 6, which features a summit finish in Selcuk. The final two stages should be chances for the sprinters, giving the stage race a good mix of race scenarios for riders with different skills.

“For me this is the first time at the Tour of Turkey,” Cavendish said. “I’m curious to find out about this race and at the same time to understand where I am in terms of physical condition after a good training period. On paper some of the stages are favourable to sprinters. We have an excellent team here and when we get the chance we will try to make it our race.”

The Turkish stage race will also mark a return to racing for Gianni Meersman after the injury sustained in the Paris-Nice, which kept him away from the races for a few weeks.

“I can’t wait to put on a number and get back in the race,” explains Gianni Meersman. “It won’t be easy in the beginning since I won’t have my racing rhythm, but I’m sure that the will and enthusiasm to get back to racing will help me a lot.”