Jasper Philipsen made it two in a row even though stage 2 in the 58th Presidential Cycling Tour of Türkiye was held on a different format on a lumpy terrain along the Mediterranean coast and an unprecedented slightly uphill finish in Kalkan. The Belgian overhauled Dutchman Cees Bol at the eleventh hour while Italy’s Luca Colnaghi rounded out the podium.

After Tour de France stage winner Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) sped up to take the first KOM price at km 19, which gave an indication of his motivation ahead of the queen stage scheduled on day 3 of the race, four riders managed to go clear off the peloton: Lennert Teugels (Bingoal WB), Artur Sowinski (Voster ATS), Jacob Relaes (Tarteletto-Isorex) and Wesley Mol (BikeAid). On his own, Matteo Amella (Corratec-Selle Italia) managed to bridge the gap to make it a five-man breakaway group that got a 3’20’’ lead at km 40. Relaes took the intermediate sprint at km 65 and Mol the Treasures of Türkiye sprint at km 93, after which those two riders went back to the pack. Teugels won the cat. 2 KOM at km 108 and later wasn’t able to follow an attack by Amella at the difference of Sowinski who accompanied the Italian. The leading duo was brought back with 13km remaining. Many attacks took place on the lumpy finale as several teams and riders wanted to anticipate the bunch sprint, but it came back together and Bol launched the sprint. However, Philipsen pipped him on the line.

“It was a really hard finale, different from flat sprints”, Philipsen explained. “Normally, flat sprints are my speciality but I knew Bol is really strong at this kind of finishes. He has a high power for a big amount of time. He was a tough competitor today. I knew he’d get his chance today. He surprised me a little bit, it was close but I could still beat him. When he went, I made a mistake with my gearing, I shifted down instead of up, then I had to shift again and gain the meters I lost but when I saw the finish line I thought it was still possible although Cees was very strong.”

“For a little while, I thought I had it”, Bol reacted. “But I always expected Philipsen to sprint from behind. Because of the uphill finale, I was the designated sprinter for Astana today as it suited me better than Gleb Syritsa and Mark Cavendish is coming back from a break after his injury at the Tour de France.”

Bol looked a little bit disappointed but Colnaghi was delighted with making the top 3 in Kalkan. “For sure it’s a satisfaction for me to finish third behind two WorldTour riders. I knew the finale suited my characteristics. But we tried to make the race hard on the last climb. However, I still had good legs for the finish. It’s not easy to win at this race but step by step we show that we are here and able to deliver some result.” The Green Project-Bardiani rider will wear the green jersey of the points on stage 3 as Philipsen remains busy with the Turquoise jersey.

Belgium’s Lennert Teugels is the new King of the Mountains. “Once I was in the breakaway, it was the goal to go for the KOM”, he said. “I noticed immediately that it was headwind all the way so the chance for the breakaway to stay away was almost zero. I just sprinted for crossing the line of the KOM first. Now I’ll try to defend the jersey. Tomorrow will be a crucial day. If I can win the first KOM, it’ll be good but I’ll first have to make the break and that won’t be easy.”

Wesley Mol of BikeAid will ride stage 3 with the white jersey of the Treasures of Türkiye. “For us, it’s very important to be visible here because one of our main sponsors is a Turkish company and once we are in the break, we want to do well and go for a jersey. I came fourth in the first intermediate sprint so I was very motivated to win the second one. I also felt I wasn’t the strongest uphill. The white jersey is my goal for the rest of the TUR. Firstly I’ll have to recover from today’s efforts. It’s a super hard stage tomorrow. I strongly hope to make the time cut.”

Philipsen will wear the Turquoise jersey before he gives way to the climbers on the unprecedented finish to Babadağ and return in sprinting mood the day after. “I used to finish second more than first at this race but maybe I can turn things around this time. I’m still young and learning but I improve a lot. I’m trying to make as few mistakes as possible. This race is actually really good to gain experience in sprinting. It’s just age and experience that can make me win more.”

Philipsen paired with Tadej Pogacar as he scored his 17th victory of the 2023 season. He openly aims for topping the tally alone by the end of the week