Maximiliano Richeze powered to victory in the opening stage of the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey on Tuesday after his Quick-Step teammate Fernando Gaviria crashed out of the race.
Gaviria came down in the finale in a touch of wheels, and the fall left him with a broken collarbone. The injury will force the 24-year-old Colombian to end his season earlier than he’d hoped, and it marks the second major fracture he has suffered this year. A broken hand sustained at Tirreno-Adriatico derailed his classics campaign this spring.
According to a post-race press release from Quick-Step, the team had initially planned to turn to Álvaro Hodeg for the sprint with Gaviria out of contention. That plan went awry as well, however, when the neo-pro “was forced to brake after slipping on the crosswalk paint as he rounded a right-side bend.”
With no sprinters left to lead out, Richeze found himself at the front of the race with a rare opportunity to ride for himself. He took full advantage of it, powering clear in the finishing straight to snatch the win and the first leader’s jersey of the race.
Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) rode to runner-up honors on the day, while Jempy Drucker (BMC Racing) took third.
“I am very happy for this victory, it’s my last race of the season and on WorldTour level, so it means a lot to me, but it’s a real pity Fernando crashed and broke his collarbone. I know how disappointed he is to end his season like that and I wish him to heal fast,” Richeze said.
“I came here to work for Fernando, and if not him, Alvaro, so this win comes as a nice surprise. There will be other sprint opportunities this week and with Álvaro being the fastest on the team now, I will be there to help him.”