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"With 2 stages finishing at the top of climbs this year we will be going for a good GC result with Natnael and Serge. We have good options for the sprint stages."

Photo: Tour of Turkey/Hakan Seker

ADRIEN NIYONSHUTI

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JAY ROBERT THOMSON

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NTT PRO CYCLING TEAM

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NATNAEL BERHANE

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SERGE PAUWELS

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TOUR OF TURKEY

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YOUCEF REGUIGUI

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25.04.2015 @ 18:03 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The 51st Presidential Tour of Turkey gets underway on Sunday and Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will once again take to the start of the 8 stage UCI 2.HC cycling event. It will be the 3rd time the African team take on Turkey's premier cycling race.

The Tour of Turkey is a race that generally suits all types of sprinters with 6 out of the 8 stages possibly finishing in either a mass or select group sprint. Stages 3 and 6 this year both finish at the summit of cat 1 climbs, ensuring that there is something on offer for the GC riders too. It is the big name sprinters of world cycling that usually dominate the headlines though as they use the Tour of Turkey as a final preparation race for the Giro d'Italia. Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel will both be at this year’s edition of the race.

Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will head into the 8-day tour with a strong and well-rounded team capable of competing for the victory on every stage. Natnael Berhane will lead the GC hopes after having won the event previously in 2013. Theo Bos is also a 2 x stage victor here at the Tour of Turkey and will lead the charge in the mass sprints. Serge Pauwels also hopes to go well in the GC while Kristian Sbaragli and Youcef Reguigui will be giving the select bunch sprints a good crack.

Completing the line-up will be Jay Thomson, Songezo Jim and Adrien Niyonshuti. The 3 African riders will no doubt be looking for that break that always seems to survive at least once a year at the Turkish Tour when not riding in support of the daily protected rider.

"For this race we have a really balanced team," Jim said. "Some teams come here only for the sprints or only for the GC but we have good riders for each situation. Fast sprinters and riders capable of a good GC too so we are looking forward to a promising week that lies ahead. Morale is very good among us guys here so I can't wait to start racing."

"Turkey is a really nice place and the riders enjoy coming here," sports director Jean-Pierre Heynderickx said. "With 2 stages finishing at the top of climbs this year we will be going for a good GC result with Natnael and Serge. We have good options for the sprint stages with Youcef and Kristian concentrating on the harder stages which should see a small bunch arrive at the finish. Theo will be our rider for the mass sprint. So with Jay, Adrien and Songezo here as well we have every opportunity to do really well in the coming week, definitely we are looking to take our chances."

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