Tour of Turkey organisers revealed the route of the stages on Monday, with the WorldTour event returning to an April 16-21 slot after the past two editions took place in early October. The race is scheduled for the week after Paris-Roubaix, ending on the same day as the Amstel Gold Race.
The stage race has traditionally shown off the coastal holiday resorts of southern Turkey, but in 2019 it will follow a six-day loop around the Marmara Sea, starting and finishing in the capital Istanbul. The warm weather and sprint finishes make it an excellent way for the sprinters and their teams to prepare for the Giro d’Italia, but the race struggles to attract all the leading WorldTour teams.
The six stages are all road races, but a lack of stage information on the race’s official website makes it difficult to understand if there will be a mountain finish and the real difficulty of the race.
Stage 1 leaves Istanbul and finishes in Tekirdag, close to the border with Greece and Bulgaria, while stage 2 finishes in Eceabat near Gallipoli. Stage 4 to Bursa could be hilly due to the nearby 2,500 metre Mount Uludag. It is also the longest stage at 185km.
Stage 5 heads back towards Istanbul with a finish in Kartepe, near Izmit, before the sixth and final stage finishes in Istanbul.
Spain’s Eduard Prades (Euskadi Murias) won the 2018 Tour of Turkey on the final stage, beating Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) thanks to taking a decisive time bonus. The victory secured his place at Movistar for 2019. Australia’s Nathan Haas (Katusha-Alpecin) was third overall at four seconds.
Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) dominated the flat stages, winning three times and finishing second on stage 1, with Quick-Step Floors also taking two sprint victories with Maximiliano Richeze and Álvaro José Hodeg after Fernando Gaviria crashed out.
2019 Tour of Turkey stages:
Stage 1: Istanbul-Tekirdag (165 km)
Stage 2: Tekirdag-Eceabat (180 km)
Stage 3: Canakkale-Edremit (155 km)
Stage 4: Balikesir-Bursa (185 km)
Stage 5: Bursa-Kartepe (170 km)
Stage 6: Sakarya-Istanbul (165 km).