By David Hunter
Despite fears over security, the organisers have done a great job organising the race. After cancelling it earlier in the year, most people feared that it wouldn’t happen, despite world tour status. Not only have the organisers managed to put together a good route, but they have attracted some good teams too. Well done them!
The race begins with a relatively easy sprint stage. The finish is slightly uphill.
The second stage sees the riders start to hit some climbs, with 14.1km at 4.3% coming after just 50km of riding. With a long way still to go in the stage, I would imagine the peloton take this easy and we get another bunch sprint.
The third stage features the well used finish in Marmaris, home to many tourists. The riders have to tackle a climb on the highway, before a fast descent to the finish. This should be a more selective sprint.
The big GC day. The climbing starts from the gun and the riders come to the only cat 1 climb in the whole race, after just 30km. The climb is 9.3km at 6.7%, a proper mountain. After a relative period of calm, the riders have to deal with a very demanding finish. It might only be a cat 2 climb but it’s 5.4km at 7.3%. After an “easy” opening to the climb, the final 3km rarely drops under 9%. Pello Bilbao won here in 2015, just beating Miguel Angel Lopez.
Depending on the GC position, we could see some GC action on the final climb. The hill is 9.4km at 5%, making it possible for riders to be dropped. A fast descent follows, but the flat run to the finish is not great news for the attackers. Expect a small sprint finish.
The race finishes with the usual stage in Istanbul. This is a finish I love, with steep gradients and cobbles. If the GC is still close, there will be lots of nervous riders.
Sergei Chernetckii – the Russian is enjoying a fine run of form. Since finishing the Vuelta, he has been 18th in the Worlds, 12th in Emilia and 10th in Lombardia. To win this race, you need to be a good climber, but also a fast finisher. It is vital to not drop any seconds in the tricky finishes and Chernetckii does pack a fast sprint. He knows this is a great chance to win his first World Tour stage race.
Jarlinson Pantano – his move to Trek hasn’t been a huge success. He spent all of the Tour and Vuelta on Contador duty, I do wonder how much energy he has left. He nearly took some personal glory, but finished second to De Gendt in Gijon. The Tour de Suisse was going to be his big race in 2017, but illness forced him to abandon. If at 100%, he would be one of the big favourites for this race.
Diego Ulissi – Team UAE arrive with two possible winners, Ulissi and Atapuma. Ulissi has the kick required to challenge in a number of stages and collect vital bonus seconds. Also on his side is a good period of form, although, he did disappoint in Lombardia. Without any big mountains, he should really be a class above the rest.
Enrico Barbin – a rider that loves competing in Turkey. He was 10th in 2014 and 7th in 2015, I wonder if he has been holding some energy back in recent races. The Italian took his first pro win at the start of the season, winning a sprint in Langkawi, that seems like a long time ago. He should go well in Turkey, but will struggle to stay with the very best during the stage 4 finish.
Danilo Celano – the Italian signed for Caja Rural back in the Summer, but his move has been a disaster. A string of DNFs have left the Spaniards wondering why on earth they bothered to sign him. Back at the start of the year, he won Giro dell’Appennino and also shone in the Tour of the Alps. If he can regain that form, he will be a threat in this race, but I can’t see it happening.
Sergey Firsanov – another rider that is not enjoying 2017. Last season, he was flying, but he has been way off the pace this year. At 35 years of age, his time at the top level of cycling might just be coming to an end.
Daniel Martinez – this hugely talented 21 year old, is racing in his final race for Wilier Trestina. Once 2018 starts, he is off to the world tour with Cannondale. That is a good reward after a fine season. Recent form has been good, with top 10 performances in Tre Valli and Milano-Torino, but he crashed out of Il Lombardia. It is reported that he only suffered some minor bruises and he’ll be happy if the opening days of the race are nice and easy.
One rider stands out in terms of quality. This should be a relatively easy win for Diego Ulissi.
Follow us on @CiclismoInter
Join us on facebook: Ciclismo Internacional
Copyright © 2012-2017 Ciclismo Internacional. All Rights Reserved