Tour of Turkey Stage 2 Preview
Sam Bennett took the opening stage of the Tour of Turkey, repeating his feat of 2017. He was the strongest in the sprint, beating Fabio Jakobsen after Deceuninck had led him out perfectly, and Caleb Ewan who was caught out of position for the sprint. The wind didn't make differences in the stage, almost everyone arrived safely in the peloton, and tomorrow is another stage to contest.
Positive: Bora has been on quite a streak, Bennett has predicted didn't have the leadout to the line, but his teammates positioned him well and he was able to get on Jakobsen's wheel, from there on, he was the fastest and couldn't be beaten.
Negative: Ewan, there's not much excuse in such a small and relatively low in WT teams for such positioning error to occur, it wasn't a technical finish, he could've been easily been on the fight for the win but instead finished a distant third. The Dimension Data boys also were nowhere to be seen, big disapointment on their side but tomorrow's stage should suit Gibbons much better.
The second stage is the first of two interesting slightly uphill finales. The stage in itself has a bumpy start, with rolling roads throughout the whole first 90 kilometers, but then there will be a completely flat approach to the final climb.
The final climb in itself isn't majorly hard, it features 3.15Km at 3.6%, it has a flat bit inside the final kilometer so it's ramps should come up to 5/6% at some points, it's one that some sprinters may still survive and take the win depending on how it's ridden, but it's sure that the climbers will be looking ahead thinking of the bonifications.
The wind won't play a factor in the stage. If anything, the slight mostly headwind breeze should harm the breakaway's chances, but as we saw today there isn't much chance of seeing them succeed even in favourable conditions.
Who can we expect to see?
A bunch sprint but, a more reduced one, and perhaps with some different protagonists. The climb isn't easy, it's first 1.5Km is at 6%, then a somewhat flat bit comes where the sprinters will try to catch back their breath for the final dash for the line. The final 300 meters have around 7% gradient, it'll be far from an easy sprint, more suited to puncheurs actually.
With that said, it's still the sprinters that are on top of the odds as there's no particular puncheur in here who can take advantage of it. Well, there is but, riders like Bennet/Gibbons/Sanz shouldn't have any issue with it, so the pure puncheurs will probably wait a couple more days.
Bennett won the first stage in conving fashion, he is good on short efforts, last year he won the final stage solo in a slight uphill finish so that should be proof for the non-believers. He comes in great form obviously, has a great sprint and if the climb isn't brutall attacked from it's first meters there's a good chance he'll be up there in the end.
Ryan Gibbons failed today's sprint, he seems to struggle in the fastest finishes with positioning, but tomorrow isn't so much about that, power will count more. Caleb Ewan also struggled with positioning today but he had a good sprint, he isn't the best of climbers in the sprinter division but he's lightweight which should be a big help. He won the sprint to Hatta Dam so he is definetely one who can do this kind of effort, only question is if it'll be too long of an effort.
Simone Consonni is another one who can be in the fight for the win, another lightweight sprinter he should fancy his chances tomorrow. Also Enrique Sanz definetely, he's a specialist in this kind of finish, he's finished second to Trentin in Andalucia in a similar finish and then went on to win 3 stages in the Alentejo, with remarcably similar uphill finishes.
On the puncheur side there's Mauro Finetto and Jhonatan Restrepo, two riders who will like a finish like this, but they'll need a very hard race for it to come to their play. Gidich is more of a climber but he is very punchy and has a good sprint, in fact 12th today, he has to be taken into account.
⭐ Finetto, Restrepo, Gidich
I'll go for him again. Bennett hasn't given me any reason not to believe him, plus both time I picked him for the win he's won (PN and here). The man to beat but he won't have as much pressure tomorrow I'd say.
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