Jasper Philipsen of Alpecin-Deceuninck won his fourth stage (out of eight) in the 58th Presidential Cycling Tour of Türkiye as he outsprinted Cees Bol (Astana) and Giovanni Lonardi (EOLO-Kometa) at Istanbul-Sultanahmet. Alexey Lutsenko was crowned the overall winner five years after he missed out on the last day by not even one second difference with Eduardo Prades. 

“It was the hard sprint I expected”, Philipsen explained in the press conference. “I had seen it from past years when the final stage was here too. There was always a crash in the corner so I was focused to stay up. It was a technical finish. Positioning was key. It was safe and it was nice. The cooperation with Astana was good because both teams wanted a sprint finish. It went the way I wanted at the end.”

A 3-man breakaway formed the head of the race for most of the time with Jay Vine (UAE Team Emirates) securing the red jersey of King of the Mountains on top of the last categorized climb at km 38 and Mauro Verwilt (Tarteletto-Isorex) taking the overall win in the Treasures of Türkiye sprints as he completed on the Galata bridge his 3-day mission as he was on the front for the third consecutive stage.

“I wanted to make the best of today’s stage and the circuit was very technical”, said Vine who was the last man alone at the front like the previous day when he won at Izmir. “After a few days of fighting on the road, we saw that it would be hard for the peloton to bring us back. It was easier for me that way to get a positioning in the last 3km. It was the last day of work of the season, so I had nothing to save for later.”

“I really wanted to show myself and my team in the Presidential Cycling Tour of Türkiye but I was really sick in the first two days”, Verwilt explained. “It was a bit frustrating. I couldn’t do anything. Then I felt good again for the last four days. As I had taken some points in the Treasures of Türkiye sprints, I went for it today and I got what I wanted from this breakaway. I hope this race will help me step up next year. I want to race as a real pro in the coming seasons.”

Philipsen won the green jersey for the third consecutive year. “It was my third TUR and it’s been a very nice race”, he added. “The areas we passed through, especially on the coast, were beautiful. It was a lot of suffering on the bike but I enjoyed the landscapes a lot. This race is a very good promotion for Türkiye.” 

“It’s my 42nd victory as a pro cyclist. The TUR with several bunch sprints out of eight stages is favourable for us to score. It’s a good race for raising the amount of wins. But it’s never easy to win. The last two years, I was more second than first. Winning is always hard. And this year, the course in general was harder so you had to be in a really good shape for winning stages.” 

“I prefer the route of the TUR next to the coast. This year’s is definitely my favourite. I got the chance to swim in the sea a few times after the stages, although I spent more time on the bike. In the other races from March to October, I never got that chance. Being at the end of the season, the pressure is a bit off. It’s been a beautiful week of racing and having a good time. My favourite stage finish was Marmaris. I really like this place and it was a nice finish.” 

“I hope I’ll come back to the TUR”, Philipsen concluded. “The last three years I managed to get the green jersey. It’s definitely a race that suits me. If it fits in my program, for sure I’ll ask for coming back. Every time it’ll be possible, I’ll come again.”

Lutsenko expressed the same desire to defend his title. “Last time I came to the TUR in 2018, I won a nice stage but I missed out on the overall victory by so little that I had to come back for winning it”, the Kazakh national champion declared. “I came back with a lot of motivation and an excellent team. We have made the podium of almost every stage, it says a lot. I’m super happy to have won the race overall. I like this race very much and it’s a beautiful country. Looking at previous years, there was always one major climb to decide the race but this year, there were more so I’ve enjoyed the course even more this year. It was a good terrain for racing and at the end a nice stage in Istanbul.” 

“Stage 3 to Babadag will make history”, he continued. “It’s an impressive uphill finish with an extremely hard and long climb in which there’s never a respite for taking a breath. You must do this climb with your head and never make any mistake. It was unknown for everyone but I was aware of the difficulty of this climb so I knew what to do. I gave 100%.” 

“The organisers of Presidential Cycling Tour of Türkiye have put together a beautiful race this time with stages for pure sprinters, others for specialists of the classics and one for climbers”, concluded the third Kazakh winner of the TUR after Andreï Kivilev (1995) and Sergey Lavrenenko (2000) while Alexander Dyachenko was also added to the record book in 2012 after a disqualification. “This event is growing. I like it so much so I’m looking forward to seeing if it can fit in my program for next year as well. If possible, I’ll come back for sure.”