Mark Cavendish, the iconic British cyclist, is poised to make a triumphant comeback to the world of professional cycling at the prestigious Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey. His return comes after a meticulous recovery from a complex fractured collarbone that he endured during the Tour de France, igniting anticipation among fans and fellow competitors alike.
This year, the 58th edition of the Tour of Turkey has been rescheduled from its customary April slot to October due to a significant earthquake that shook the region. The event, spanning from October 8 to 15, is set to bring together cycling enthusiasts from across the globe.
Cavendish, hailing from the Isle of Man, seeks to replicate the astounding success he achieved in the 2021 Tour of Turkey, where he marked his resurgence with four remarkable stage victories at the Tour de France. Building on this momentum, Cavendish recently inked a fresh contract with Astana Qazaqstan, harboring ambitions of clinching an unprecedented 35th Tour de France stage win.
Cavendish vs. Philipsen: Intense Rivalry Resumes
Before embarking on his quest for Tour de France glory, Cavendish is determined to enhance his record at the Tour of Turkey, where he currently boasts more stage victories than any other cyclist. His initial opportunity will arise in the challenging 135km Stage 1, from Alanya to Antalya, where he will face stiff competition from the formidable Jasper Philipsen of Alpecin-Deceuninck. Philipsen, a Belgian sensation, has already secured 15 victories this season, including the recent triumph at the Elfstedenrace.
The tantalizing rivalry between Cavendish and Philipsen was last witnessed at Stage 7 of the Tour de France, where Philipsen clinched victory while Cavendish valiantly battled on despite a mechanical hiccup, securing second place. The subsequent day brought misfortune for Cavendish as he crashed out, while Philipsen went on to claim four stage victories and the coveted green jersey.
Beyond the sprinters' battleground, the Tour of Turkey features additional stages that favor climbers, including the arduous 104.1km Stage 3, commencing in Fethiye and culminating with a grueling ascent to Babadağ. This daunting 18.9km hors categorie climb, reaching 1,937 meters, presents an average slope of 10.8% with ramps surging to 16% in the final kilometers.
Stage 3 is poised to be an ideal opportunity for Jay Vine and UAE Team Emirates to cement their position atop the UCI Team Rankings. As of September 29, the team held a commanding lead of 395 points over Jumbo-Visma, who will not be participating in Turkey. Moreover, it could be the stage where the Australian cyclist seizes the overall lead, aiming to avenge his second-place finishes in 2021 and 2022.
The 1,231km hilly route of the Tour of Turkey offers numerous opportunities for climbers to shine, including Stage 6, which culminates with another demanding mountain-top finish. Cycling enthusiasts and fans worldwide are eagerly awaiting the thrilling action that is bound to unfold during this prestigious event on the international cycling calendar.