Fernando Gaviria will be supported by a strong and experienced squad in his final race of the season.
A vast region inhabited since the Late Copper Age, more than 5 000 years ago, Konya will be the host of the opening Tour of Turkey stage, before the race heads south for Antalya, the country's biggest international sea resort, and later Marmaris, taking on a terrain that should favour the sprinters, who'll once again have plenty of chances to shine at the six-day World Tour race, but also the attackers.
The taxing climb of Selçuk (6km, 7%), which features at the end of stage four, will weigh heavily in the fight for the overall classification, with some big gaps expected among the contenders, before the peloton's fast men will move again into the spotlight, in Manisa and the mesmerizing Istanbul, where the 54th edition will come to a conclusion.
For Quick-Step Floors, it will be the penultimate stage race of the season, and multiple Grand Tour stage winner Fernando Gaviria, who currently sits on nine victories, will look to put himself into double figures at his first outing in the Tour of Turkey – his last appointment of the year – an event that has become part of the World Tour calendar since 2017.
The prodigious Colombian – first rider to wear the yellow jersey at this year's Tour de France – will be supported by a solid team, consisting of Tim Declercq, compatriot Alvaro Hodeg, Maximiliano Richeze, Zdenek Stybar and Iljo Keisse, who thrilled fans six years ago with his dramatic stage victory in Izmir, while neo-pro James Knox will get the chance to get involved in the GC battle.
Sports directors Wilfried Peeters and Tom Steels will guide the team from the car, and the latter shared his thoughts ahead of next week's race: "Fernando will be our designated leader for the flat stages and is ready to fight for stage wins, while James – who has worked so hard for the team since the start of the season – will have the chance to test himself and see how far he can go in the overall standings. Zdenek, who was very strong in Binche-Chimay-Binche, will keep an eye on the tricky finishes, with Tim, Alvaro, Iljo and Max ready to help Fernando on the flat and form a strong lead-out train."
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