Mark Cavendish is two for two in Turkey as he goes into the third leg of this week’s race, after winning the second victory at the Tour of Turkey yesterday.
The Manxman, who’s on team Etixx-QuickStep colours, won the bunch sprint at the end of stage two of the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey. He’s now in the lead going into today’s third stage. This is Cavendish’s eighth victory this season, and the 127th win in his career.
The victory was all the more impressive for being won with a puncture. With five kilometers remaining, the Etixx-QuickStep team had six riders at the front when Cavendish realised the problem. Three of the team still had 1.2 kilometres to go before team member Mark Renshaw could pilot Cavendish to victory.
“At a corner with about 5km to go my wheel went from me and I thought to myself ‘that’s not good’ as I lost my balance,” Cavendish told the Etixx-QuickStep website. “The wheel was spongy. It wasn’t totally flat but it was a slow leaking puncture.”
“I thought about stopping to get a new wheel, but we were already on our third guy of the train. If I stopped, we were one man short for Mark Renshaw. So I thought I’d give it a crack. I went easy for the final corners. I had confidence in my team-mates. If they kept me in the front on the corners I’d be okay, and they did just that.”
A number of teams fought for the lead position in the fast run to the finish line in Antalya. Italian Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) took second place, with Nicola Ruffoni (Bardiani-CSF) in third.
Cavendish’s win means he retains the turquoise leader’s jersey going into the third stage: a 165 kilometre mountainous route from Kemer, finishing at Elmali. The challenging course might well shake up the existing placing.
Cavendish’s successes this season surely go some way to making up for his Tour de France performance last year, where his dreams were shattered after a crash injured his right shoulder, taking him out of the race.
The Brit’s win on the first leg, a 145-kilometre loop around Mediterranean City Alanya, won him a huge bunch of bananas.
Cavendish plans to represent the Isle of Man in this year’s Commonwealth Games, in Scotland.
A total of 165 cyclists from 21 teams from around the globe are competing in the eight stages of the Tour of Turkey, which finishes in Istanbul on May 3. Last year’s victor was British cyclist Adam Yates, from team Orica Green EDGE.
The race began in 1965 as the Marmara Cycling Tour. The tour has become a showcase of Turkey’s beautiful coastline and mountain ranges.
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