Three days in the breakaway group, making life difficult for Quintana on the mountain and in the end only seconds away from winning the team classification.
After the Tour of Antalya in February, the team went to this beautiful country on the Mediterranean Sea for the second time this season. It was the first time they had the opportunity to ride in the high-profile Tour of Turkey, with names like Caleb Ewan, Sam Bennet and Nairo Quintana. You don’t get a chance like this every day as a continental team. This makes it all the more important to use this opportunity and show what a comparably small team from Saarland can do! With daily live coverage on Eurosport and coverage in the major sports media, a good result generates considerable attention. What more could a KT team want?
Noticed from the start
The team made its mark immediately on the first stage. Halil Dogan rode almost 130 kilometres with five other riders in the breakaway group of the day, thereby clearly indicating its intentions.
This scenario was repeated on the second day. This time it was Julian Lino who was working in the breakaway in front of the peloton the whole day until 25 kilometres before the end and represented the team in a great way.
And since all good things come in threes, BIKE AID had a rider in the breakaway group on the third stage too, Léo Bouvier. Although the group was overtaken shortly before the finish, Léo managed to call on his last reserves of energy to finish in 11th place in the bunch sprint. An extremely strong physical and mental performance by the young Frenchman!
An incredible stage!
The fourth stage. and only one with a mountain finish, ran from Izmir to Manisa and covered 146 kilometres. The otherwise quiet day ended in an epic fight between the best mountain riders on the final 14-kilometre climb. The riders in question included Adne van Engelen and Dawit Yemane, who have demonstrated their skills on the mountain a few times already.
A group of 13 quickly formed, setting an incredible pace on the climb. The two BIKE AID riders were not only in the middle of it all, but fully involved! It was also very noteworthy that the Saarland team, alongside Arkea Samsic, was the only one that was represented with more than one rider in the first group. They went uphill metre by metre alongside Jay Vine and Quintana and the group thinned out further. The decisive and race-winning attack was followed by Adne all alone and it seemed that the ‘Flying Dutchman’ would not be caught again. However, the thriller on the mountain was not over yet. With 1.7 kilometres to go, Dawit Yemane roared in with six other riders, and Adne’s chances of a spectacular second place evaporated. Nevertheless, it was an extremely strong performance by the Dutchman, who was ultimately awarded ninth place!
The Eritrean finished an incredible sixth, once again underlining his extremely good form and, like Adne, his absolute ability to compete with the world’s top mountain riders! Dawit also secured seventh place overall in this stage, once again making headlines for Eritrean cycling, which is currently enjoying such success.
This stage surely counts as one of the best team performances of BIKE AID and it is not unlikely that it was one of the best performances by a German continental team at this level!
An unusual finish
After four gruelling but very productive stages, it was now a question of securing Dawit’s top 10 place. In addition, the team was now second in the team standings and only 40 seconds behind the leaders.
Every day they continued to sacrifice themselves for each other, helping where they could and protecting Dawit well. Despite multiple crashes, no rider had to leave the race early. The morale of the team was surely a decisive factor in this. The team standings were getting more and more tight, and before the final stage, only 21 seconds separated them from victory. A feasible task, one would think.
However, the last stage was plagued by severe thunderstorms, which caused crashes already in the first kilometres. Then, after only 32 kilometres, the race director announced that the stage would be abandoned. An understandable decision. Extremely wet roads made the race a slippery slope. The safety of the riders was simply no longer guaranteed in these conditions.
BIKE AID was deprived of the chance to win the team classification, but none of the riders could complain after this great performance in Turkey. A seventh place overall for Dawit Yemane and second place in the team classification show what class and potential the riders have!
The team will start the seven-day Tour de Bretagne on Monday. After Justin Wolf’s 60-kilometre solo victory last year, the riders are looking forward to taking part in this race again!
This article was submitted by: BIKE AID