Sam Bennett has his second stage win at the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey. The Irishman of Bora-Hansgrohe took the win after 6 hours in the saddle to beat Edward Theuns and Riccardo Minali in the sprint finish.
Kumlica to Fethiye took the field of just over 100 riders on a long 205km of riding. The very long day in the saddle surprisingly didn’t see a breakaway emerge until 20km into the stage. Onur Balkan of the Turkish national team was in the move along with Mirco Maestri of Bardiani-CSF. After gaining an advantage of four minutes they were eventually joined by Murilo Affonso of Funvic/Brasil Pro Cycling.
With 90km remaining the gap to the trio was at 3 minutes and slowly dropping as behind them Trek-Segafredo, Bora-Hansgrohe, Willier Triestina and CCC Sprandi Polkowice had riders on the front of the peloton. Eventually three leaders became two as Onur Balkan dropped back to the bunch, as the peloton began to close a little on the break’s lead. The break’s lead hovered at the 202.30min point for a long time, with the bunch showing no urgency just yet on what was always going to be a long day in the saddle.
Maestri took the maximum points at the intermediate sprint with 46km to go while behind in the bunch it was Diego Ulissi of UAE Team Emirates who mopped up the final point on offer in a reasonable hotly contested sprint. The composition of the peloton had changed, with Trek-Segafredo and Bora-Hansgrohe taking a much more commanding role of the race as the gap came down to 1.30mins with 41.5km to go.
Unlike stage 1 though, the urgency to catch the break early wasn’t there to the same degree, and the leading duo found themselves with a great deal more freedom to press on and get a lot closer to the finish line ahead of the rest of the race. But the catch was inevitable, with 21km to go the time gap had dropped to 51 seconds; but the pair up ahead showed resilience. At 16km to go the gap was still at a reasonable 30 seconds with Trek-Segafredo and Bora-Hansgrohe still very much in control of the pack, although Astana and Gazprom Rusvelo had moved forward.
The long, open roads did nothing for the break’s morale as the peloton had the leading duo in their sights for a great deal of the race before the catch was finally made with 12km to go. The pace was on now, and there was no shortage of teams vying for the head of the peloton with some five teams all fighting for the front.
With 8km remaining it looked like Trek-Segafredo and Astana were the riders to really have control of the race; although Bora-Hansgrohe remained in contention, well positioned and ready to strike. With less than 5km to go Willier-Triestina and CCC Sprandi Polkowice showed interest in the front of the race as the pace continued to put the hurt on the riders. Briefly Bora-Hansgrohe found themselves a little out of position behind Trek-Segafredo who looked to be in the best place to strike.
CCC Sprandi Polkowice continued to lead with Willer Triestina as they hit 2km to go, while behind them Trek were ready to strike until an unexpected move forward from UAE Team Emirates. But from there Bora-Hansgrohe surged forward and with 1.4km to go drew up closer to Trek-Segafredo, ready to strike.
Shane Archbold had done well to position Sam Bennett at about seventh wheel in a sprint where they’d largely been found out of position compared to the day before. Through the final bend Archbold pulled off and left Bennett on third wheel behind Edward Theuns. It proved the best place to be as Bennett hit for home with less than 100m to go. There could be no response from Theuns as the Irishman sprinted away to his second consecutive stage win after what was a messier sprint.
After his big lead out for his victorious teammate, Shane Archbold crossed the line 21 seconds back.