Omega Pharma – Quick-Step rider Mark Cavendish won the bunch sprint finish of 141km Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey Stage 1 on Sunday.
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step had three riders in front of the Manx Missile inside of 2km to go. Belkin Pro Cycling Team and Lotto-Belisol were also battling for the best position in anticipation of the group arrival. Cavendish launched off the wheel of an opposing rider in the final meters and was able to take the victory by more than a bike length.
“I was a bit surprised by my speed,” Cavendish said. “I had to go a little bit early. There was a slight headwind. I think I went at 250 meters because I was about six wheels back. When I initially kicked I was surprised how nice I felt. So, I just kept it going and when I was ahead, I didn’t know by how much, I thought someone might be closing from behind, but I won. I’m super happy. The team rode well today. It wasn’t perfect, but we were drilling it. I’m proud of the guys and that I could come here to Tour of Turkey and win the first stage. Especially after coming back after getting sick. There were no negative feelings about this race. I was in good condition before I got sick so it’s not like I was in bad condition after my illness, it just went down a little bit. It’s the first race after five weeks so you never really know. I didn’t think I’d be dropped or struggling or anything, but I didn’t know if I had it in me to win. But I was training my sprint at home and it was there today. My team did a brilliant job to keep me up there and keep me out of trouble. I’m glad I could win it for them.”