Turkey – normally you think of sunshine, warm weather and holiday. But fort he guys from BIKE AID Procycling the opening stage at this year’s Tour of Antalya was totally different. Rainy, quite cold and for sure no holiday feelings.With a first look at the race profile, you could think it would be a pure climber’s race.
Even stage 1 had a 12 kilometer long climb where sprinters normally don’t play a major role. But at the end it is not the profile that makes the race it’s always the riders. As the climb was in the first part it was most likely that it’s going tob e controlled riding up the hill and the chace for a sprint would be high.So it was on Meron Abraham to try his best in the finale of this 160 km long stage.
But in the last downhill it was already raining and with 5 degrees very cold, so maybe not the best conditions for African cyclists who usually are not used to ride in those weather conditions: „it was very cold and I was freezing when we entered the last part oft he race after the downhill“, Meron described his situation.
And so it happend that in the last 3 kilometers a big part oft he bunch crashed but Meron could keep himself up in a quite good position to enter the last kilometer. „I started my sprint a bit early as I know I can hold a higher power for quite long, but my legs were not feeling so good after I was freezing and so I couldn’t push more in the last 300 meters“.
At the end the 9th place is another Top 10 ranking and gives a good start into the race. Today’s stage 2 is leading over 120 kilometers with a 20 km climb up to 1.300m of altitude. So keep the fingers crossed for the boys.