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The 50th edition of the Presidential Tour of Turkey is currently in progress and Adam Phelan, of Australia’s only ProContinental team Drapac Professional Cycling, is writing daily reports for CyclingTips from within the race. Here’s Adam report from stage 2.
When I arrived in Turkey, I was told that it never rains in Alanya. Riding out to the start for stage 2 of the Presidential Tour of Turkey, I discovered that not only does it rain here, it can pour. We got drenched. Mud and grit covered us head-to-toe. It was apocalyptic (or at least it felt as though it was!).
Taking refuge in a small cafe at the start I had come to the conclusion that we were in for a wet and windy one. The rain wasn’t going anywhere.
But Mother Nature had other plans for us. By the time we left the start line the torrential rain had eased off into a light shower, and only 10km down the road the clouds faded away and we were greeted by sun. Yes, sun! I was not complaining (nor was the rest of the bunch).
The stage followed a similar narrative to the first stage. Early on a break was let go, this time consisting of Ahmet Orken (Torku Sekerspor), Martijn Verschoor (Novo Nordisk), Mattia Pozzo (Neri-Sottoli), Pawel Charucki (CCC Polsat Polkowice) and Nicola Boem (Bardiani-CSF). The peloton let the group get a solid gap before the main sprint teams moved to the front and began to set the pace.
With a bit of wind blowing all day the peloton was more nervous than the day before. More teams wanted to be closer to the front. Everyone seemed to be waiting for the moment a team tried to spilt the group in the wind. It meant we had to be a bit more attentive all day. The Drapac boys managed to keep together and close to the front, keeping our sprinter Wouter Wippert comfortable and safe.
There was only one real moment that there was a real push in the wind. But, much like the first day, the conditions didn’t quite suit. Although it lead to a hard and fairly frantic couple of kilometres there were no major splits and everything became calm once more. Once again, a bunch sprint awaited us at the finish.
I lost count of the number of times I thought I was going to crash in the last 10km of the race. The final few kilometres went so quickly and were filled with so much chaos — it’s all a bit of a blur. I had Wouter on my wheel behind the Belkin train heading towards the final. I remember an Orica-GreenEDGE rider had to skid on to a side path off the road ahead of me. There was yelling.
The finish results mirrored the first stage for us. Wouter finished strong in 11th. Mark Cavendish won after another impressive ride by his Omega Pharma-QuickStep team.
Tomorrow the GC will be decided. Mountains surround us now and on stage 3 we go up them. My legs are feeling good and I have a feeling tomorrow might be a bit less textbook then the first two stages. Should be good fun!
Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey (2.HC) Alanya → Kemer
DE MAAR Marc
Lampre - Merida