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Mark Cavendish just off the podium in chaotic opening sprint at Tour of Turkey

Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey 2021 56th Edition 1st stage Konya Konya 724 km 11042021 Arvid De Kleijn NED Team Rally Cycling Kristoffer Halvorsen UnoX Pro Cycling Team photo Brian HodesBettiniPhoto2021
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Mark Cavendish finished just off the podium in fourth place following a chaotic bunch sprint at the end of shortened stage 1 at the Tour of Turkey on Sunday. 

The Deceuninck-QuickStep rider appeared to have lost position through two back-to-back corners located in the final 500 metres, and although he made up lost ground on the final straight away, he finished behind the day’s winner Arvid de Kleijn (Rally Cycling), runner-up Kristoffer Halvorsen (Uno-X) and third placed Pierre Barbier (Delko).

Deceuninck-QuickStep appeared to be in good position for the sprint with Cavendish on the back wheel of his teammates Alvaro Hodeg and Shane Archbold. They were organising their lead out on the right side of the field just behind team Uno-X, with Rally Cycling coming up on the left in the final two kilometres. 

A crash at 1.5km to go took down several riders on the right side of the peloton, however, that did not appear to affect Deceuninck-QuickStep’s lead-out for Cavendish. 

Uno-X led the race into the final kilometre and they were in perfect position through the sweeping left-hand bends inside 500 metres to go. However Polish national champion Stanisław Aniołkowski (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces) hit a hole in the road and almost lost control, taking his foot out of the pedals to steady his balance. That forced the Deceuninck-QuickStep lead-out wide and meant they lost speed and position.  

Halvorsen started his sprint first and barreled toward the finish line and he looked as though he had the victory in hand, but a last-second push from De Kleijn, saw the Rally sprinter come around and they crossed the finish line in Konya side-by-side. Race officials reviewed the photo-finish of the sprint and awarded the stage win to De Kleijn. 

Barbier crossed the line in third with Cavendish making up ground fast in the sprint to finish fourth.

Cavendish arrived at the Tour of Turkey after series of strong and improving results this spring: he was second at Grote Prijs Jean-Pierre Monsere, took two podium finishes in stages at Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali where he briefly wore the leader’s jersey, and he finished third at Scheldeprijs on Wednesday. 

He joined Deceuninck-QuickStep for the Tour of Turkey alongside his teammates and sprinters Hodeg and Fabio Jakobsen, the latter making his return to the peloton after a long rehabilitation process following his crash at the Tour de Pologne last August.

Four or five of the eight stages at the Tour of Turkey cater to the sprinters giving Cavendish other opportunities to take his first win of the season with Deceuninck-QuickStep.

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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.