Frank van den Broek, the birth of champion

Ten years after Adam Yates took his first pro victory at the Presidential Cycling Tour of Türkiye, a champion is born throughout Türkiye’s premier cycling event as Dutchman Frank van den Broek, 23, claimed his first success since he turned pro in mid-July last year. It’s a fourth victory out of six stages for DSM-Firmenich-PostNL and the turquoise jersey remains in the same camp after the queen stage to Manisa/Spil Dagi.
It took 50km for a 5-man breakaway group to be formed, with Jonas Rickaert (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Negasi Haylu Abreha (Q.36.5), Petros Mengs (Beykoz), Norbert Banaszek (Mazowsze Serce Polski) and Feritcan Samli (Spor Toto). They quickly got a significant advantage, recorded at 3’45’’ at km 57 before the peloton took a steady pace. The group worked well together until it split up at the beginning of the final ascent to Spil Dagi. Abreha remained alone in the lead and was reinforced by Filippo Conca (Q36.5). Samuele Zoccarato (VF Group-Bardiani-Faizanè) caught up with them but the big action was launched by Harold Lopez (Astana) with 7km to go.

The Ecuadorian got a gap for himself but Merhawi Kudus (Terengganu) made the junction 5km before the summit. The Eritrean rode away solo with 3km remaining. 2km before the end, Paul Double (Polti-Kometa) and Van den Broek reached him to make it a three-man sprint at the top. It went to the advantage of the young Dutchman who became the race leader with the tight margin of four and nine seconds over his rivals with two days left in the 59th Presidential Cycling Tour of Türkiye.

Stage 6 winner and new race leader Frank van den Broek:

“I certainly didn’t expect to win the queen stage of the TUR. It’s only my first year as a pro cyclist and I came here to focus on getting experience by working for the sprinters on our team, which had worked very well in the first stages. I haven’t really worked on my climbing yet. The TUR is known as a race more for sprinters, so it was also a nice opportunity for me to push my limits on this climb and it turned out that I became the winner.

It’s fantastic! I was working for the sprinters but the idea was that I’d save a little energy for today’s stage, so my task in the past few days was to getting the sprinters in a good spot for the last 3km, and then Bram [Welten] would takeover. My second focus was on trying my luck today.

There was not one team taking control on climb. It was more like different teams had to work, then after the flat part with 4km to go, it became steep again and we could see who had something left and that’s how the difference was made.

The time gaps on GC are small. I’m not the best climber so I couldn’t drop my adversaries and it turned out to be a sprint between the three of us, maybe because the pace at the beginning of the climb was not too high, it increased after flat part, that’s why the gaps are not so big, so I’ll be busy defending the turquoise jersey in the next few days as well as trying to win two more stages with our sprinters.

Till this year, I thought I was an all-rounder, then after the first races of this year I’ve believed I may be a rider for the classics, and now with this win, I may be a climber, all I know is that I’m not a sprinter. 

I’ve watched documentaries and heard lots of stories about Frank Vandenbroucke. We have the same name with different spelling and a different nationality too. When I was younger my hair were whiter, like his at some stages of his career. I’m yet to find out what kind of rider I can become precisely but I can’t be compared with him, that’s for sure.

Last year I was looking forward to coming to Türkiye for this race with my old team A-bloc, but the race was postponed to October and I changed team in the meantime, after I won my first international race in China, a stage of the Tour of Qinghai Lake. So it’s my first time in Türkiye. I find the coast beautiful and I enjoy the nice weather, it’s perfect for racing.”

Merhawi Kudus, 2nd of stage 6, said:

“I’m not disappointed. I did what I had to do. I tried to make a difference in the last 3 or 4km, which were the steepest ones. But a guy came behind me and he was stronger. It a bit tactical at the end. The legs did the talking too. It was kind of the same as in 2019 when I made the top 3 overall in the TUR: I was alone at the front and I got caught. But I’m happy with this second place. It shows a good performance for myself and for my Malaysian team Terengganu.”

Paul Double, 3rd of stage 6, said:

“This was the stage for me to win. But third is the best result I could get. I couldn’t get rid of my two rivals and they had me at the finish. I don’t know if that’s enough to take me to the Giro d’Italia, I still miss the win I was looking for here.”

Points classification leader Giovanni Lonardi said:

“We were hoping to win with Paul Double but when I saw the finish here, it wasn’t the best for him to win from a group, it would have been better if he’d arrived alone. But it’s still a podium, so it’s a good performance and we’ll see in the coming days if there’s something to play for the overall victory. On the intermediate sprint, I found myself at the front of the peloton and I won a very sprint for third, unfortunately, there were two escapees.”

King of the Mountains and Treasures of Türkiye classification leader Vinzent Dorn said:

“I didn’t try to attack today because our goal was to have someone in the front group for the last climb. I had team duties to do. I just followed the white jersey. In the end I was happy that he was not in the breakaway group. There are two more days. There’ll be a fight between me and him [Konrad Czabok] for the white jersey.”