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Presidential Cycling Tour - 2.1

Turkey, April 13-20, 2008

Main Page    Results   Overall standings     Next Stage

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