Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey: Cavendish Makes it Four on Final Stage
The peloton was absolutely scrambling for leadout position with 5km to go in the 121km Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey Stage 8 on Sunday. Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team, however, timed their effort perfectly and it paid off with the fourth stage victory of Mark Cavendish in the bunch sprint finish.
OPQS powered to the front with about 3km to go, with Iljo Keisse helping move them up through the field and then Gianni Meersman taking over to put the leadout in commanding position. It was then up to Gert Steegmans and Alessandro Petacchi to guide Cavendish to the line, and their work was so effective they created a gap in the peloton behind them as they went into the final kilometer. Petacchi — as the final man for the British Champion in the Points Jersey — launched Cavendish in an ideal moment to take the victory over Elia Viviani (Cannondale ProCycling), who was the winner of two stages, and Andrea Guardini (Astana).
OPQS has now won 29 races, in three disciplines, in 2014.
The group arrival would not have been possible without tremendous effort by Kevin De Weert to chase down the breakaway with 9km to go in the stage, and young Petr Vakoc helping to conserve energy of the leadout train and also keep OPQS in strong position for the final kilometers.
After Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey, where he won four stages and the Points Jersey, Cavendish will continue his race schedule at AMGEN Tour of California.
"They delivered me perfectly," Cavendish said of his leadout. "I was able to sit longer than I thought. I thought I was going to have to go at 250, just when I could see the finish line. But Ale was still going and going faster. I looked behind, saw some faces, and I knew I could sit for 50 meters more and use my explosiveness. I think yesterday, I watched the video repeatedly unsure of what I did wrong. Finally I realized the speed was so high — my strength is getting the jump — once we get up to such a high speed my strength is significantly reduced. So, today I just let it die off so I could kick again and then I could get a gap. But really, I'm so happy with the team and how they're riding as a unit, and where I'm at with my form. The team rode incredible the whole week and I think we're ahead of where we want to be at this point in the year. So it's all good. I think I'm definitely back after my four victories at Tour of Turkey. These preparation races are absolutely perfect. It's not an easy race by any means. There's a lot of sprints but you have to be in the perfect position. I'm really thrilled with how it's gone here and it really has been big steps for the rest of the season."