56. Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey
Stage 8) Bodrum - Kusadasi
Turkey Sunday 18 April 2021 160.3 km
Mark Cavendish takes his 150th pro win
Mark Cavendish celebrated his 150th career win in the pro ranks Sunday afternoon in Kuşadası, the seaside resort which welcomed the peloton for the first time in nine years, and where, despite several short hills that peppered the last twenty kilometers, the final stage of the Tour of Turkey concluded again with a bunch sprint.
The 180km stage that took off from Bodrum was raced at an insane pace, and it was only after two hours of racing that a breakaway moved clear. Stijn Steels was there for Deceuninck – Quick-Step, helping the group stay away until with 30 kilometers to go, while behind Fabio Jakobsen, Iljo Keisse and Shane Archbold protected Mark Cavendish, helping the Manxman on the second-category climb and then bringing him near the front of the group as the peloton was approaching Kuşadası.
It was another chaotic finale which saw some of the GC riders attack in order to put pressure on the overall leader of the race before the sprinters’ teams took over the reins and hit the front of the bunch inside three kilometers to go. Cavendish expertly surfed wheels before kicking out on the right side of the road and taking the win ahead of Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) with a perfectly-timed bike throw over the line in what was a very tight sprint.
“Today was harder than we imagined it was going to be, as we had different races within the race for all the various classifications. The stage was full gas from the beginning and it went like this for more than 100 kilometers, until a break finally got away. We had Stijn there, while I could rely on the likes of Iljo, Fabio and Shane when we came to the crucial point of the stage, that nasty classified climb with twenty kilometers to go.”
“Having them by my side allowed me to keep enough energy for the final kilometers of the stage where it was very messy again, but fortunately a gap opened just as I started my sprint and I could beat Philipsen on the line. I’m happy to get my fourth stage win here, it feels really great. We had an amazing week, we really enjoyed ourselves and taking my 150th pro victory as part of this incredible team is just the cherry on the cake”, a delighted Mark Cavendish said after writing history on the Aegean coast.
Photo credit: ©Stuart Franklin / Getty Images