Sam Bennett continued his winning spree on the opening day of the 2019 Tour of Turkey.
The Irishman opted for his signature sprinting style of riding a rival team’s train to the line, before powering past Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Fabio Jakobsen in the final 100m with ease.
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Jakobsen appeared to throw his bike at the wrong line, but Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) was already well clear and the Dutchman had to settle for second.
Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) completed the podium, while Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) finished outside the top-10.
How it happened
The opening stage of the 2019 edition was an expected sprint, but with some challenges along the road.
As the peloton raced over 156.7km from the capital Istanbul to Tekirdah to the west, riders faced two categorised tests.
The first of the third cat climbs came just 40km into the race, while the final rise peaked just inside the final 13km.
Early in the day, six riders went clear and were allowed to build up manageable advantage.
Álvaro Robredo (Burgos-BH), Lucas De Rossi (Delko Marseille Provence) , Lorenzo Fortunato (Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTM), Emerson Oronte (Rally UHC Cycling) Lindsay De Vylder (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), and Ferit Samli (Turkey) made up the breakaway and gained a 5-50 advantage at the maximum.
But the peloton confidently wound them in, making the catch with 22km left to race.
Everyone made it over the final climb without incident, as Dimension Data hit the front of the peloton with clear intentions for Mark Cavendish.
Astana also held their position at the front of the group, with Bora-Hansgrohe ominously behind.
Dimension Data evaporated at the head of the bunch in the final few kilometres as Bora took up the pace-setting, with Deceuninck – Quick-Step sailing up the inside.
Cavendish was tucked in near the front but looked too far back to really fight for the line.
Bennett slipped onto the tail of the Quick-Step train in the final 500 meters as their sprinter Fabio Jakobsen was first to launch his sprint 200m out.
But Bennett waited another 50m and powered past Jakobsen, who threw his bike at the wrong line.
Bennett was well clear by that point, taking victory ahead of the Jakobsen with Caleb Ewan rounding off the podium.
Cavendish finished in 22nd.
Tour of Turkey 2019 stage one: Istanbul to Tekirdag (156.7km)
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe, in 3-32-34
2. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
3. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto-Soudal
4. Eduard Grosu (Rou) Delko Marseille Provence
5. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
6. Luca Pacioni (Ita) Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTM
7. Imerio Cima (Ita) Nippo Vini Fantini Faizanè
8. Giovanni Lonardi (Ita) Nippo Vini Fantini Faizanè
9. Christophe Noppe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Álvaro Hodeg (Col) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, all at same time
General classification after stage one
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe, in 3-32-24
2. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, at 4 seconds
3. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto-Soudal, at 6s
4. Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTM, at 7s
5. Álvaro Robredo (Esp) Burgos-BH, at 8s
6. Lindsay De Vylder (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Balois, at 9s
7. Eduard Grosu (Rou) Delko Marseille Provence, at 10s
8. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
9. Luca Pacioni (Ita) Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTM
10. Imerio Cima (Ita) Nippo Vini Fantini Faizanè, all at same time