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Presidential Cycling Tour - 2.1
Turkey, April 13-20, 2008
Prologue - April 13: GP Istanbul, 76.2km
Rast shows Astana's motivation on the cobblestones
By Jean-François Quénet in Istanbul
Astana's Gregory Rast became the first winner at the 44th Presidential Tour of Turkey after outsprinting Italian Francesco Ginanni in a spectacular opener. However, the 76.2 km Grand Prix of Istanbul is not actually part of the UCI sanctioned Tour of Turkey, and so the race proper starts tomorrow with a 132.7 km stage from Izmir to Kusadasi. But as Astana directeur sportif Alain Gallopin noted, separating today's criterium from the stage race was a good call by race organisers. "Otherwise, the overall classification would have been decided today," he said.
Indeed it was very hard terrain leading the riders from the ancient hippodrome where chariot races used to be held during the Byzantine empire down to the Bosphorus Strait and back up towards the famous Blue Mosque in the area of Sultanahmet, which is the most visited in the historical city of Istanbul, a few blocks away from the Grand Bazar.
Cobblestones, uphill and downhill made the race a real spectacle, with the riders also keen to put on a show as they went full-gas from the gun. The Serramenti PVC-Diquigiovanni team showed their motivation early but Astana was prompt to imitate them with Gregory Rast taking the initiative after only ten kilometres.
"When I came here, I didn't know what to expect", the Swiss rider explained. "When I saw the course this morning, I realized it was good for me. The uphill cobblestones made it look like the Tour of Flanders where I finished 13th last week. I understood that I had to catch the attackers from the first lap. As I became a part of the front group, I only had to stay focused and observe my adversaries. I didn't know them really."
The Astana team isn't exactly racing against their usual opponents at the Tour of Turkey. "But people like us here, so we're happy to produce a good show for them," Rast commented. "I was impressed by the very big crowd here today. I don't do this job only for training but mostly for racing and winning as much as possible. Today I've won a nice race."
Gustavo Cesar Veloso from Karpin-Galicia who had finished third in Le Tour de Langkawi in February was Rast's biggest worry. "I reacted very quickly when he attacked with five laps to go", said the former Swiss champion (in 2004 and 2006) and winner of the 2007 Tour of Luxemburg. "In the final sprint, I didn't have any difficulty for winning. It's great to win."
There should be more to come from Astana during the seven-day Tour of Turkey. "We came with a strong team," Rast added. "Andreas Klöden will like the climbs here. But we have two or three cards to play."
A few bunch sprints are expected too, although today's criterium was a little too dangerous for Alessandro Petacchi who withdrew early after seeing a spectacular crash on the fourth lap. But the Italian fast man from Milram will be determined to win a few stages on the Turkish coast later this week.
How it unfolded
The race started at a very high speed with the winner of Le Tour de Langkawi Ruslan Ivanov (Serramenti PVC-Diquigiovanni) being the first man in action during the first of 30 laps of 2.54 kilometres.
During the second lap, Ivanov was joined by Gustavo Cesar Veloso (Karpin-Galicia) and his team-mate Francesco Ginanni (Serramenti PVC-Diquigiovanni). A fourth man formed the first significant front group: Matteo Priamo (CSF-Navigare), while a crash split the bunch in the middle of the fourth lap.
Ivanov got dropped from the leading group and was replaced by David Garcia Dapena (Karpin-Galicia) and Gregory Rast (Astana) who felt as good on the cobblestones of Istanbul as on those of the Tour of Flanders.
After six laps, the breakaway comprised five riders: Ginanni, Priamo, Cesar Veloso, Garcia Dapena and Rast. After nine laps, the bunch led by Silence-Lotto's Nick Gates was just one minute down with many riders pulling out due to the high speed of the race. Two riders went in between the breakaway and the bunch: Gabriele Missaglia (Serramenti PVC-Diquigiovanni) and Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Partizan).
Just after half way, Missaglia and Rubiano caught up with the leaders with 14 laps to go. The gap between the men away and the bunch remained around one minute. With 10 laps to go, it was exactly 1'12.
A maximum lead of 2'13 was reached with six laps to go. Francesco Reda (NGC Medical) then launched a counter-attack by himself a lap later, but the seven leaders didn't have to fear the return of anybody. Missaglia and Priamo were dropped temporarily in the closing stages but got back on and it was a seven-man sprint for the win.
Rast made his move after the final sweeping corner, and had too much power for Ginanni and Garcia Dapena.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Jean-Francois Quenet
1 Grégory Rast (Swi) Astana 2.03.09 2 Francesco Ginanni (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni 3 David Garcia Dapena (Spa) Karpin Galicia 4 Matteo Priamo (Ita) CSF Group Navigare 5 Gustavo Cesar Veloso (Spa) Karpin Galicia 6 Miguel Rubiano Chavez (Col) Centri Della Calzatura-Partizan 7 Gabriele Missaglia (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni 0.26 8 Francesco Reda (Ita) NGC Medical - OTC 4.43 9 Manuel Belletti (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni + 1 lap 10 Alonso Salgueiro (Spa) Extremadura 11 Assan Bazayev (Kaz) Astana 12 Martin Mares (Cze) PSK Whirlpool - Author 13 Danail Petrov (Bul) Benfica 14 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 15 Josu Mondelo Diaz (Spa) Extremadura 16 Dominique Nerz (Ger) Team Ista + 2 laps 17 Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Silence-Lotto 18 Ciaran Power (Irl) Irish National Team 19 Javier Benitez (Spa) Benfica 20 Marco Velo (Ita) Team Milram 21 David Canada Gracia (Spa) Saunier Duval-Scott 22 José De Azevedo (Por) Benfica 23 Koen De Kort (Ned) Astana 24 Rubens Bertogliati (Swi) Saunier Duval-Scott 25 Nick Gates (Aus) Silence-Lotto 26 Danilo Hondo (Ger) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni 27 Nazareno Rossi (Swi) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni 28 Fabian Schaar (Ger) Team Ista 29 Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Lampre 30 Dominguez Herrero (Spa) Extremadura 31 Alberto Ongarato (Ita) Team Milram 32 David Loosli (Swi) Lampre 33 Christian Kux (Ger) Team Milram 34 Ruslan Ivanov (Mda) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni 35 Edgar Pinto (Por) Benfica + 15 laps 36 Dominique Cornu (Bel) Silence-Lotto 37 Bakhtiyar Mamyrov (Kaz) Brisa + 16 laps 38 Tim Klotz (Ger) Team Ista 39 Elia Rigotto (Ita) Team Milram 40 Zolt Der (Srb) Centri Della Calzatura-Partizan 41 Hans Bloks (Ned) Dutch National Team 42 André Schulze (Ger) PSK Whirlpool - Author 43 Enrico Rossi (Ita) NGC Medical - OTC + 20 laps 44 Christoph Meschenmoser (Ger) Team Ista 45 Ismail Aksoy (Tur) Turkish National Team 46 Ugur Marmara (Tur) Turkish National Team 47 Piergiorgio Camussa (Ita) NGC Medical - OTC 48 James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Mitsubishi - Jartazi + 21 laps 49 Christopher Duperrut (Swi) Hadimec - Nazionale Elettronica + 22 laps 50 Jaime Garcia Latorre (Spa) Extremadura 51 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Silence-Lotto 52 Jose Benitez Roman (Spa) Saunier Duval-Scott 53 Frank Dressler (Ger) Mitsubishi - Jartazi 54 Christopher Schmieg (Ger) Team Ista 55 Dmitri Nikandrov (Rus) Centri Della Calzatura-Partizan + 23 laps 56 Tobias Eggli (Swi) Hadimec - Nazionale Elettronica 57 Luca Zanasca (Ita) Centri Della Calzatura-Partizan 58 Marco Weilenmann (Swi) Stegcomputer - CKT - Cogeas 59 Janusch Laule (Ger) Stegcomputer - CKT - Cogeas 60 Jakub Danacik (Cze) PSK Whirlpool - Author 61 Igor Leonovich (Tkm) Atlas-Romer's Hausbäckerei 62 Christoph Springer (Ger) Cosmote Kastro 63 Martyn Irvine (Irl) Irish National Team 64 Benjamin Stauder (Ger) Stegcomputer - CKT - Cogeas 65 Leopold Konig (Cze) PSK Whirlpool - Author 66 Tiago Claro (Por) Benfica 67 Matthias Krizek (Aut) Tyrol - Team Radland Tirol 68 Pavel Nevdakh (Kaz) Brisa 69 Kemal Kucukbay (Tur) Brisa 70 Selcuk Turkcetin (Tur) Turkish National Team 71 Ondrej Pavek (Cze) AC Sparta Praha 72 Sante Di Nizio (Ita) Hadimec - Nazionale Elettronica 73 Alexandr Dymovskikh (Kaz) Brisa 74 Peter Hawkins (Irl) Irish National Team 75 Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana 76 Nazim Bakirci (Tur) Turkish National Team 77 Josef Soukup (Cze) AC Sparta Praha 78 Aggelis Armenatsogloy (Tur) Cosmote Kastro 79 Emanuele Bindi (Ita) Lampre 80 Andreas Henig (Ger) Atlas-Romer's Hausbäckerei 81 Benoît Joachim (Lux) Astana 82 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Team Milram 83 Philippe Schnyder (Swi) Hadimec - Nazionale Elettronica 84 Orhan Sahin (Tur) Turkish National Team 85 Ivan Hernandez Henao (Col) Centri Della Calzatura-Partizan 86 Mathieu Criquielion (Bel) Mitsubishi - Jartazi 87 Gregory Habeaux (Bel) Mitsubishi - Jartazi 88 Vytautas Kaupas (Ltu) Mitsubishi - Jartazi 89 Donato Cannone (Ita) NGC Medical - OTC + 24 laps 90 Florian Salzinger (Ger) Hadimec - Nazionale Elettronica 91 Alessio Signego (Ita) NGC Medical - OTC 92 David Mc Cann (Irl) Irish National Team 93 Arjen De Baat (Ned) Dutch National Team 94 Ondrej Sosenka (Cze) PSK Whirlpool - Author 95 Martin Prazdnovsky (Svk) AC Sparta Praha 96 David Abal Diego (Spa) Karpin Galicia 97 Michal Kesl (Cze) AC Sparta Praha 98 Peter Jörg (Swi) Stegcomputer - CKT - Cogeas 99 Roberto Longo (Ita) Lampre 100 Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Saunier Duval-Scott 101 Mindaugas Striska (Ltu) Mitsubishi - Jartazi 102 Delio Ferandez Cruz (Spa) Karpin Galicia + 25 laps 103 Nebojsa Jovanovic (Srb) Cosmote Kastro 104 Nikolaos Kaloudakis (Gre) Cosmote Kastro 105 Lubos Pelanek (Cze) Lampre 106 Fabrice Piemontesi (Ita) NGC Medical - OTC 107 Wim Van Huffel (Bel) Silence-Lotto 108 Fabian Krienbühl (Swi) Stegcomputer - CKT - Cogeas 109 Javier Megias Leal (Spa) Saunier Duval-Scott 110 Francis De Greef (Bel) Silence-Lotto 111 Panadero Castano (Spa) Karpin Galicia + 26 laps 112 Robin Schmuda (Ger) Team Ista 113 Petr Behzik (Cze) PSK Whirlpool - Author 114 Martin Hebik (Cze) AC Sparta Praha 115 Nico Graf (Ger) Atlas-Romer's Hausbäckerei 116 Fabian Angermair (Aut) Tyrol - Team Radland Tirol 117 Matthias Ladner (Aut) Tyrol - Team Radland Tirol 118 Brian Kenneally (Irl) Irish National Team 119 Dominik Brändle (Aut) Tyrol - Team Radland Tirol 120 Jiri Skobranek (Cze) Cosmote Kastro 121 Ariel Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) CSF Group Navigare 122 Tiziano Dall'antonia (Ita) CSF Group Navigare 123 Aitor Perez Arrieta (Spa) Extremadura 124 Mert Mutlu (Tur) Brisa 125 Kirilov Chanliev (Bul) Brisa 126 José Mendes (Por) Benfica 127 Rostislav Krotky (Cze) AC Sparta Praha 128 Artur Gajek (Ger) Team Milram 129 Timo Honstein (Ger) Atlas-Romer's Hausbäckerei 130 Sander Oostlander (Ned) Dutch National Team 131 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre 132 Mosquera Paleo (Spa) Karpin Galicia 133 Usta Behcet (Tur) Turkish National Team 134 Michael Randin (Swi) Hadimec - Nazionale Elettronica 135 Benjamin Baumgartner (Swi) Atlas-Romer's Hausbäckerei 136 Cornelius Van Ooijen (Ned) Dutch National Team 137 Egon Van Kessel (Jr) (Ned) Dutch National Team 138 Marko Tomic (Srb) Cosmote Kastro 139 Sean Lacey (Irl) Irish National Team 140 Carlos Torrent Tarres (Spa) Extremadura 141 Guillermo Bongiorno (Arg) CSF Group Navigare 142 Paul Van Schalen (Ned) Dutch National Team 143 Stefan Kirchmair (Aut) Tyrol - Team Radland Tirol 144 Felix Odebrecht (Ger) Atlas-Romer's Hausbäckerei 145 Paride Grillo (Ita) CSF Group Navigare 146 Filippo Savini (Ita) CSF Group Navigare 147 Artur Krol (Pol) Centri Della Calzatura-Partizan 148 Arkaitz Duran Daroca (Spa) Saunier Duval-Scott N.B. GP Istanbul does not count towards overall classification