Italian youngster Andrea Guardini (Farnese Vini) opened up a long sprint to hold off Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo) to win the opening stage at the Tour of Turkey on Sunday.
It was a sprint of giants with Alessandro Petacchi being apparently in the best position under the flamme rouge of the last kilometer at the different of Andre Greipel who was out of contention because of a flat tire within three kilometers of the finish go. But the Italian veteran lost control of the situation and was relegated to the last position – instead of eighth – and penalized of one minute on GC after hitting French neo pro Nacer Bouhanni from FDJ.
Guardini opened up his sprint with 200m to go in the 124km opening stage in Instanbul to win the stage. Kenny Van Hummel (Skil-Shimano) crossed the line third.
Guardini, 21, is viewed by many pundits as the next big Italian sprinter. With the win Sunday, he has already claimed seven wins on the 2011 season, with five stages at the Tour de Langkawi and one at the Tour of Qatar.
“It’s been a difficult race to win for sure,” Guardini said. “I took the decision to keep on my side my team-mate Elia Favilli who already helped me so much when I won five stages at Le Tour de Langkawi.”
Farrar said he was impressed with the speed Guardini was able to show in the charge to the line.
“It was my first time sprinting against Andrea Guardini, this is obviously a big talent. It’s no surprise to see him winning. In the sprint, he came from behind and that was a good way to do it because there was kind of a downhill. It was a really nice sprint by him. As for myself, I’m happy with my result. I almost didn’t touch my bike since Paris-Roubaix as I needed a break. To be second here today is still ok. It’s only going to get better before the Giro.”
The 47th Turkey tour continues Monday with the 181km stage along the Aegean coast from Kuşadası to Turgutreis in what should be another chance for the sprinters to shine on the final kilometer.
- 1. Andrea Guardini (I), Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli, 2hr 35min 54sec
- 2. Tyler Farrar (USA), Garmin-Cervelo, same time
- 3. Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Nl), Skil-Shimano, s.t.
- 4. Manuel Belletti (I), Colnago-CSF Inox , s.t.
- 5. Roberto Ferrari (I), Androni Giocattoli, s.t.