Aidis Kruopis of Orica-GreenEdge won the second stage at the 49th Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey (TUR) today on a day marred by a massive crash in the final 200 meters that affected most of the riders on the field.
With the peloton steaming ahead at full speed as the sprint finish was being set up, it appeared that Mark Renshaw touched the wheel of the rider in front of him at the front left of the pack. A full-on, chain-reaction pileup ensued, with the entire road being blocked by a mass of tangled bikes and riders.
Renshaw was hospitalized after the crash, but there was no immediate information on his condition. A handful of riders were ahead of the incident and were able to keep sprinting to the finish line. Finishing second was Marco Coledan of Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox, while Andre Greipel of Lotto-Belisol was third in the 150-kilometer stage that started in Alanya ended in central Antalya.
Greipel now has the overall race lead, with Argos-Shimano’s Marcel Kittel, winner of the first stage, in second and Kruopis in third. All three have the same time. Third leg of the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey will be witness a real mountain ride on April 23, finishing at the top of a 1,850-meter-high summit after a grueling climb. It marks a historic move for the race, seeking a spot in the 2014 World Tour and eager to help all types of riders express themselves.
It has been several years since organizers, led by general director Abdurrahman Açıkalın, sought to include such a difficult stage in their event, and they finally made it after a close survey of the hills in the south of Turkey.
In 2010 and 2011, riders had tackled a bumpy course between Fethiye and Pamukkale and even though strong men had each time managed to emerge, the spectacular stage had not appeared demanding enough.
Riders at the start discovered a new itinerary for the third stage first in 2012. Initially scheduled to be held between Kemer and Elmalı, the route will cover a similar distance of 150 kilometers between Antalya and Elmalı, the first road undergoing repairs.
The stage looks set to play a major part in the race outcome and, for one day, to sideline the sprinters who gather each year in the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey.
The 49th Presidential Tour of Turkey will pass through Kusadasi this Saturday 27th April, so why not hit the streets to give your support, should be a fun day.