Unassuming Start For ORICA-GreenEDGE at Tour of Turkey

Sun 27 Apr 2014

It was an uneventful first day of racing for ORICA-GreenEDGE on the rolling 145 kilometre first stage of the Tour of Turkey. The stage to Alanya culminated in a bunch sprint, with Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma Quickstep) taking the win. Elia Viviani (Cannondale) was second and Theo Bos (Belkin Pro Cycling) took the final spot on the podium.  Leigh Howard managed to pick up points for second in the intermediate sprint and may now focus his sights on working towards the sprint jersey.

“It’s obviously not the result we expected today,” said Assistant Sport Director Julian Dean. “We did our best in the sprint but it didn’t work out. It’s a little bit about going through the process here. A lot of guys are coming back from a break and they’re just trying to find themselves again.”

In an opening stage that is traditionally for the sprinters, ORICA-GreenEDGE had planned to set up the finale for Aidis Kruopis. Despite coming into the closing kilometres with the bunch altogether, the team never managed to regroup in time to lead out Kruopis for the finish.

“They lost each other in the last five kilometres,” said Dean. “The guys all sort of feel that they weren’t quite as sharp as they could have been. Obviously they have the condition, but they are just lacking the race sharpness. We expect that to improve tomorrow.”

Several teams worked hard to establish a breakaway in the early stages of the race in the hope of overturning the likely bunch sprint finish. A group managed to form and get a small advantage over the bunch, but they were swiftly brought back into the peloton and the race was altogether again at just 60 kilometres into the day and stayed together until the line.

While the team’s hopes of nabbing an early result in the weeklong tour didn’t eventuate today, Dean is confident that there are more opportunities that suit their varied roster of riders. With Leigh Howard picking up bonus points for the intermediate sprint, the sprint jersey may now become an objective for the team.

“With Howard’s second on the intermediate sprint, we could potentially look at working towards the sprint jersey later in the week,” said Dean. “There are a lot of good sprinters here and we have a broad set of objectives within our team. We are taking each day as it come and we are expecting some good opportunities, especially for Adam and Simon Yates, in the coming days.”