Patrick Bevin (Israel-Premier Tech) was declared the winner of the 57th Tour of Turkey without having to defend the Turquoise jersey he got on the second last stage. The final day of racing in the streets of Istanbul got cancelled due to road and weather conditions.
The race did roll off the start line but the dry start at Taksim Square did not last so after 25km the decision was made to call a halt to stage 8 and therefore bring the 2022 edition of the Tour of Turkey to an early close.
“There were just extremely slippery roads,” said Bevin, who took the race lead from Eduardo Sepúlveda (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli) by winning from a break of three on stage 7. “We knew if it was gonna rain there would be a problem and we got a lot of rain as we rolled out. In the kind of the first downhill it was a large crash at low speed at it was obvious that the race wasn’t gonna go ahead so riders kinda came together.”
“I don’t [think I] have ever seen roads so slippery. It’s just unfortunate we suddenly got so much rain on the city roads. It made the conditions unraceable. The bunch was united and the feeling that there was no safe way to race. Once we communicated with the commissaires, it was clear that we had to neutralise the stage.”
The decision to cancel the race was taken quickly.
“We told the judges: 'We can’t race. There’s no way into a safe race'," Bevin said. “It’s disappointing. You feel sorry for the Tour of Turkey. It’s such a great job for a week and to have a stage around Istanbul in such a big beautiful city, to lose that is unfortunate but that was right [to cancel the last stage]. As riders, we can’t disagree with such a decision.”
“We’re all a little bit disappointed,” the rider from New Zealand added. “It was the final stage after seven great days. It’s unfortunate for the race, such a beautiful stage around a beautiful city to finish the week off but at the end of the day, the riders’ safety was paramount. There was no way around it.”
Bevin said that the riders were informed even before the race that if it was wet when the race hit the last 30km, the time would be neutralised but riders would still race for the stage classification.
The way the race ended may have been disappointing but the result was a huge boon for Bevin, who took the first overall win of his career with a 20 second buffer to Australia's Jay Vine (Alpecin-Fenix) and another 40 seconds back to Sepúlveda.
“Istanbul is a huge city," said Bevin. "Coming from New Zealand, it’s beyond anything we’d ever seen. Once the pressure came off, even though it was wet and cold, it was a great feeling to ride through city.”
“Overall, the Tour of Turkey was a really enjoyable race," Bevin said. "I’ll take some great memories from here. I’ve had a lot of second places in my career, so to take a stage win yesterday and the GC today is really nice.”
“It’s a huge win for me personally," said Bevin, adding that it also meant a lot for his team, Israel-Premier Tech. "The team had a hard start of the season. This race puts us on the right foot.”
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