Michele Gazzoli, fifth in the fight for the inaugural volata of the Tour of Antalya
2nd Tour of Antalya
Stage 1: Koprulu Canyon (Beskonak) – Antalya (141 km)
Promising debut of the Kometa Cycling Team on Turkish roads. Italian Michele Gazzoli finished in fifth place in the sprint with which the first stage of the Tour of Antalya was resolved, a little uphill finish in which a year ago the Italian Matteo Moschetti made his debut in the newly born continental structure and in which on this occasion the Dutchman Mathieu Van der Poel won. The Corendon-Circus cyclist is the first wearer of the leader’s magente jersey in the general classification, where Gazzoli occupies sixth place.
In a strong slope finish, Gazzo fought for victory, but could not break a Van der Poel who proved unapproachable despite seeing himself one of those involved in the big crash that affected the main pack with thirty kilometers to go, where a growing tension in the head of the pack made his own. A great fall in which also was involved the Manchego Juan Camacho while working in favor of the interests of the italian rider. “I’m fine, just a little sore from the blows. But without any serious damage,” explains from Antalya Camacho himself, who would arrive at a minute and a half of the winner.
The first stage of the Turkish race was marked by an break of the New Zealander Jame Fouché (Wiggins), an adventure in solitary that arrived to roll with three minutes as maximum income. Behind, in the pack, the bet of the Kometa Cycling Team was clear: to tuck in and protect their strong men and their sprint trump card. At 40 kilometers from the end the escape was history, but the tension was in crescendo given the pulse between the formations with interests in a volata and a few kilometers with some complicated stretch.
In the end, the judges would ‘bite’ eighteen seconds between a first group and a second, headed by Stefano Oldani, with all the block of the team, except the aforementioned Camacho. Michel Ries, Luxembourg rider of the Madrid formation and one of his trump cards for the general classification: “This first stage was a nervous day, with quite bad roads for most of the day. The most positive thing is that the team remained safe. From this point of view it was a good day”.
“The stage has been quite tough, because it has been very nervous and has gone through difficult roads. The whole team did a formidable job all day long, especially in the last ten kilometres on a very narrow road. In the last kilometre you reached a small hill that was made hard by the high pace. I’m happy for the fifth place and for the work of the whole squad. Tomorrow comes another chance,” explains Michele Gazzoli. This Friday is the second stage of the Tour of Antalya, a 111-kilometre day with start and finish in Antalya, the provincial capital, which presents an ideal profile for a main sprint.
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)