Sam Bennett has started the Tour of Turkey strongly with a second place on the opening stage. Fernando Gaviria (Quick Step Floors) had also been expected to contest the stage, but crashed with four kilometres left and suffered a broken collarbone.
The opening stage of the race started and finished in the city of Konya with the riders covering 148.4 kilometres and the stage was expected to finish a sprint.
An early break went clear consisting of Kenneth Van Rooy (WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic), Nicolas Sessler (Burgos BH), Benat Txoperena (Euskadi Basque Country Murias), Ander Barrenetxea (Euskadi Basque Country Murias) and Feritcan Şamlı (Turkey National Team) and these five riders only gained a maximum lead of two minutes and were caught with fifteen kilometres remaining.
A number of riders then tried to go clear but the sprinters’ teams kept it together for the finish. In a tricky finale, it was Quick-Step Floors rider Maximiliano Richeze who jumped clear and took the win ahead of Bennett with Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC Racing Team) in third. Richeze now leads the race by 4″ from Bennett.
Sam Bennett: “I was in a good position but I knew we have still five more stages, therefore I didn’t want to take any more risks in this tricky finale. The last corner was tough, some riders slipped away, therefore we kept attention, especially in the final kilometres. The guys did a great job the whole day and, in the finale, I did the best I could but Quick-Step Floors had the faster legs today but there are still five stages left and I will try my best.”