Fabio Jakobsen won a manic sprint on stage three of the Tour of Turkey, as Mark Cavendish took his first podium in 10 months.
An uneventful day of racing took a rapid turn in the final kilometres as a fast and chaotic sprint unfolded.
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Jakobsen (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) got a roadside Turkish flag caught on his handlebars as he sprinted for the line, but was composed enough to hold the power and take the win.
Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) was forced to swerve to avoid a collision with Jakobsen’s lead-out man, but kept up the speed to finish third.
Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) cemented his consistency by finishing second at the line and holding onto his race lead for another day.
How it happened
A third consecutive sprint day awaited the peloton on stage three, this time over a short 122.7km day from Çanakkale in the north west of the country to Edremit in the central region.
The opening half of the course featured some testing uncategorised lumps before the day’s main challenge – a third category ascent which peaked 76.8km into the race.
But a long descent followed with a pan-flat run along the coast guiding the peloton into the fast and straight finish.
In the early stages of racing, six riders went clear – Victor Langellotti (Burgos-BH), Urko Berrade (Euskadi Basque Country-Murias), Umberto Marengo (Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTM), Lindsay De Vylder (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Ahmet Örken and Ferit Samli (Turkey) – pulling out a maximum 3-15 advantage over the day.
The peloton comfortably started to reel in the escapees, as a handful of the breakaway riders sat up throughout the day.
With 25km left to race, only Berrade, Marengo, De Vylder and Samli remained out front, with Quick-Step, Dimension Data, Lotto-Soudal and Bora-Hansgrohe each dedicating a rider to the chase.
The gap then plummeted and with 10km to the line the break were absorbed by the bunch.
Race leader and the dominant sprinter of the race Bennett sat a long way back in the peloton, with Quick-Step’s Jakobsen positioned behind him.
Dimension Data lined up at the front with Mark Cavendish at the tail of the train.
The three-lane wide roads allowed teams to move quickly to the front, contributing to a calm pace in the peloton.
Quick-Step moved into position near the front with 5km to race, following Rally UHC who rode alongside the Dimension Data train.
Bora-Hansgrohe shadowed their Belgian rivals closely as the speeds ramped up at the 2km marker.
Quick-Step were first to open up their dash for the line inside 500 metres, as Max Richeze powered to the front with Jakobsen on his wheel, and Bennett locked to the wheel of the Dutchman.
Cavendish switched across to follow Bennett as Jakobsen opened up 100m from the line, with Bennett and Cavendish both battling for victory.
The Brit was forced to swerve as he almost collided with Jakobsen’s lead-out man as Richeze peeled off, but Cavendish kept up the speed.
A roadside flag then got caught in Jakobsen’s bars as he sprinted but he was calm enough to ignore it and strong enough to take victory.
Bennett followed across the line in second and Cavendish taking his first podium since Adriatic Ionica Race last June.
The general classification is still held by Bennett.
Tour of Turkey 2019 stage three: Çanakkale to Edremit (122.6km)
1. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, in 2-50-12
2. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hanshrohe
3. Mark Cavendish (Gbr) Dimension Data
4. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto-Soudal
5. Christophe Noppe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
6. Matteo Malucelli (Ita) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
7. Matthew Gibson (Gbr) Burgos-BH
8. Luca Pacioni (Ita) Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTM
9. Jordan Parra (Col) Manzana Postobon
10. Yevgeniy Gidich (Kaz) Astana, all at same time
General classification after stage three
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe, in 11-04-08
2. Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 20 seconds
3. Jhonatan Restrepo (Col) Manzan Postobon, at 22s
4. Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, at 26s
5. Gonzalo Serrano (Esp) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
6. Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
7. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Delko Marseille Provence, all at same time
8. Edgar Pinto (Por) W52/FC Porto, at 29s
9. Christophe Noppe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise, at 30s
10. Merhawi Kudus (Eri) Astana, at same time