Sam Bennett (BORA – hansgrohe) won the opening stage of the Presidential Tour of Turkey today, which marks his eighth stage win in total at the race. It was the Irishman’s fifth win of the season.
The 55th edition of the race kicked off today with a 156km flat stage from Istanbul to Tekirdag. BORA – hansgrohe arrived with a strong team in Turkey to support Bennett, who won three stages in last year’s edition. Included was the team’s latest signing Shane Archbold alongside Erik Baska, Felix Großschartner, Christoph Pfingsten, Lukas Pöstlberger and Michael Schwarzmann.
A break of six riders built today’s breakaway and the escapees gained a gap of more than two minutes, as BORA – hansgrohe controlled the pace of the bunch. As expected, the peloton closed the gap shortly before the finale, and the sprinter teams started their lead-outs.
BORA – hansgrohe did a stellar job to deliver Sam Bennett into a perfect position for the last kilometre. On the final stretch on a wide-open road along the coast, the Irish sprinter remained calm when sitting on the wheel of his opponents, before kicking off his sprint on the final metres. The 28 year-old outsprinted Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck – Quick Step) and Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal). By taking the opening stage, Bennett now also leads the overall ranking and the points classification.
Sam Bennett – “I am so happy taking the opener here in Turkey again. I really like this country and I think the country likes me as well. The guys did an amazing job today, they pulled the whole day and delivered me perfectly. They take, as always, a huge part in today’s result.
“In the finale, I stayed on the wheel of the Deceuninck- Quick Step guys and first I thought it might be difficult today, but then I kicked off my sprint and had the highest speed. It always feels good finishing off a great teamwork.”