Alanya, Turkey — Team Novo Nordisk placed three riders in the top 20 on Sunday’s opening stage of the Tour of Turkey where they were up against some of the best sprinters in the world.
Stage 1 of the Presidential Tour of Turkey was a 141-kilometer out-and-back race in Alanya. A four-man break controlled most of the stage before being reeled in on the finishing laps. On the start of the final lap, Team Novo Nordisk was seen well organized and towards the front of the peloton.
“The plan was to help Martijn in the sprint finish, but in the last few kilometers there was a crash that lead to a lot of confusion, so I decided to take on the final sprint,” said Italian Andrea Peron. “This was my first race back after a long break, so my form wasn’t exactly where I’d like it to be, but it felt good to be back racing.”
In the ensuing sprint, Team Novo Nordisk was up against some of the best sprinters in the world, including Mark Cavendish, who has won 25 stages at the Tour de France, Alessandro Petacchi, who has won six stages at the Tour de France, and Andre Greipel, who has won five stages at the Tour.
Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) took the win ahead of Elia Viviani (Cannondale) and Theo Bos (Belkin). Peron finished 13th followed by Martijn Verschoor in 19th and Nicolas Lefrançois in 20th.
The day’s results demonstrate how far Team Novo Nordisk has come since its inception in late 2012. At last year’s Tour of Turkey, the team earned a total of five top 20 finishes during the race. After the opening stage, Team Novo Nordisk is the third team overall in the team classification, ahead of almost every World Tour team at the race: Astana Pro Team, Omega-Pharma-Quick Step, Team Katusha, Cannondale, Belkin Pro Cycling, Lotto-Belisol and Orica GreenEDGE.
The world’s first all-diabetes pro cycling team continues racing at the Presidential Tour of Turkey on Monday with Stage 2, a 175-km race from Alanya to Kemer that looks to be another day for the sprinters.