Race organisers have shortened the queen stage of the 2019 Tour of Turkey by 5.5km due to heavy snow falling on the summit finish.
Stage five was set to conclude with riders scaling the 16km Kartepe, but will now only ride the first 10.5km. The steepest parts of the climb, which top out at a gradient of 12 per cent, will not be affected.
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The Tour of Turkey have said that Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s team director Brian Holm and rider Eros Capecchi represented the teams and riders currently competing in the race as the decision was made to shorten the penultimate stage under the UCI’s Extreme Weather Protocol.
Broadcaster Ned Boulting, who is in Turkey working on the race, tweeted a picture from the Kartepe, which literally means “snowy hill” in Turkish, showing the terrible weather conditions. He’s said that icy snow is still falling hard and that fog has descended.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step first tweeted a video showing the view from the original finish line, and then updating their followers with the scenes at the new finish line, which was still being plummeted by snow.
Ahmet Örken, who is currently riding the race for the Turkish national team, posted a picture poking fun at forecasts that there would be inclement weather in Kartepe, before adding a video just an hour later showing heavy snow falling in the area.
Lotto-Soudal’s Jasper De Buyst was one of a number of non-starters in the race today, saying the “super slippery roads” at the start were not worth the risk as he continues to recover from a shoulder blade fracture.
Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe), who won the opening two stages of the race, currently holds the overall lead, with a 24 second advantage over team mate Felix Grossschartner.