The Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey kicked off Tuesday with a 176.7-kilometer stage, and as expected the bunch arrived at the finish to fight out the win where Edward Theuns sprinted to third place after a textbook leadout from his team.
The teamwork was impeccable, but Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) spoiled the party, jumping to the win as Theuns held on for a top three placing.
"We controlled the race from the beginning with Bora-Hansgrohe, (Eugenio) Alafaci was pulling all day, and he did a great job," said team director Dirk Demol. "The whole team was there to do a good leadout, and Edward just missed a little bit of power or acceleration to win the race. He finished third, and okay, tomorrow's another chance."
It was a relatively uneventful race with a non-threatening six-man breakaway escaping that was easily contained and caught 35 kilometers from the end when Trek-Segafredo suddenly upped the pace in the crosswinds hoping to catch a few riders out.
Demol explained: "When we came back to the coast there was a little more wind, so we had a plan if there is a crosswind to give it a try, but it was not quite strong enough and nobody wanted to go with us. We went for a few kilometers but when we saw it was not working and no one wanted to help we slowed down again and focused on the sprint."
Theuns will have another sprint chance in stage two before the race heads into the longer and harder climbs for the following three days. With only four WorldTour teams in attendance, Trek-Segafredo is looking to score some late-season points and will look to Jarlinson Pantano for the overall and Edward Theuns in the fast finishes.
"The climbs are not super hard, but you need to have climber legs to fight for the GC here," continued Demol. "We hope that Jarlinson can find some good legs this week as he has had a very heavy season – he did the Tour and the Vuelta, and now he is here, and for sure he is starting to feel the efforts of the year. But sometimes if the head is still okay, you can go far. There are no pure climbers here, so we will do the maximum to protect him for the GC, and Edward will have two more chances at the sprint."