By Jean-François Quénet in Alanya, Turkey
When he took the yellow jersey of the Presidential Tour of Turkey in Marmaris at the end of stage three, David Garcia Dapena from Karpin-Galicia was prompt to suggest that he'd be the winner of a national Tour, should he keep the lead till the end. He maintained his position with a lot of self-control, something he has learned in his previous life as a domestique.
In Turkey, at the age of 30, he took only the second win of his professional after the Tour of the Future in Portugal the year after he started his career in this country with LA Pecol in 1999. For the first time last year, he joined a Spanish team. At Karpin-Galicia, he was a very esteemed helper for Ezequiel Mosquera who came fifth in the 2007 Vuelta a España. Despite his devotion to his captain, Garcia Dapena managed to finish the Spanish Grand Tour in 23rd.
"I enjoy riding for my team-mates but this week has been great as I was able to work for myself with a dedicated team around me," he said. "In the final two stages, we've received the help of the sprinters' teams and that has made our life easier, but until the end I've been afraid of crashing."
He was so enthusiastic that he appeared in the middle of the train made for the sprinters with one kilometer to go in the final stage. "I'm not a pure sprinter but I was close to compete against them," he recalled.
"This win will give me the serenity for the coming races," he continued. "Back home in Spain, I'll take part in the Subida al Naranco, then at the Vuelta Asturias and at the Volta Catalunya. Maybe with less pressure, I'll win more. For the second part of the season, I'll prepare for the Vuelta a España again. It's our team's main goal for the year."
Garcia Dapena is a world traveler now. He started his 2008 season in Malaysia at Le Tour de Langkawi. "The Tour of Turkey is my second holiday destination this year," he noted. "Malaysia was also great and I took 100 pictures there but here in Turkey, I didn't have any time for that. I was totally focused on the result."
The Tour of Turkey gave Garcia Dapena the feeling that it's never too late to win, even after almost ten years of surviving in Portuguese teams.