From the rural country roads to the busy city streets, the racing in Turkey was intense
. Photo: VeloImages
Although the race lacked the huge crowds of the Grand Tours on the Continent, they were nonetheless a beehive of activity each day.
The organizers for the Tour of Turkey did everything they could to make the Pro Tour regulars feel at home. Each morning they even provided a small Village Depart where riders, press and race VIPs could congregate and have a coffee. In the shadow of the magnificent Hagia Sofia, the Village on the final stage was impressive.
No doubt there were many interesting things seen in Turkey that aren't normally found at many other major Tours. Take this hooka pipe cafe just a few hundred yards away from the start.
Even in officially marked Tour cars, some of the local constables weren't convinced that we needed access on the closed roads in order to get to the finish. Lots of hand gesturing and raised voices finally got us through.
With the President soon to arrive, security at the finish was tight - every journos' bags had to be checked.
Alexandre Vinokourov was riding his signature Selle Italia Flite saddle with FSA's version of the Selle Italia Monolink seatpost.
Here's what the rest of Vino's bike looked like.
As this is now his final year, everyone is expecting to see the Kazach rider return for some going away glory in the Tour de France.
A TALE OF TWO DEROSAS - THE BIKES OF UTENSILNORD-NAMED
Here's the standard DeRosa King of the Irish licensed Utensilnort-Named team that you can find at your local dealer now. It's curious that, like the Italian run Colnago-CSF Inox team, the mostly Italian Utensilnord team is also an Irish licensed squad.
Last November I was invited to a private screening on an all new DeRosa road bike. At the time I wasn't allowed to shoot photos or even mention its existence. In Turkey, Utensilnord team rider Gabriele Bosisio was racing one of the super-expensive ($17,000) bikes that are now in production. And no, I can't really discern what it is about the bike that puts such a high value on it either.
Talk about swoopy bottom bracket/seat tube integration, the DeRosa maintains futuristic lines.
The massive Protos fork has an equally smooth interface with the head tube. It was somewhat strange to find an alloy Campy wheel on the bike, but a few teams were opting for the durable aluminum hoops due to the rough roads.
From the ENVE tubulars (left) to the Mavic Cosmic clinchers, there were lots of different wheels found in Turkey.
Stage seven winner IIijo Keisse opts to not run the aero stem spacer under his Zipp Service Course SL aluminum stem on his team Team QuickStep Specialized Venge.
Here's a super fan that merged a Marco Pantani fixation with a Discovery Channel Trek Madone.
Spotted in the crowd, this classic Giant with T-Mobile livery.
The Argo-Shimano Felts had a clean, simple and fast look to them.
Despite being surrounded each day by a plethora of high tech carbon race bikes, there was still plenty of old world tech to be found in Turkey.
Here's a close-up of the trick air foil fork with the internal brakes found on Andre Greipel's Ridley Noah.
Team Andalusia is one of Europe's many Pro Continental squads that hope one day to get the talent and finances to make the jump to World Tour status. And no, I can't imagine they like the looks of their Orbea helmets either.
Curious as it is that some bike brands try hard to downplay lug technology, the beautiful team EuropCar Colnago C59 bikes still yell loud and proud that they use lugged frame construction.
Although you don't see many of them being used in the pro peloton (and Fizik doesn't even sell them anymore) Raboban rider Tom Leezer was still roll with a solid carbon Fizik K1 saddle.
With an 11th overall in the team GC standings, the loudest part of the Lampre team effort was probably their Wilier Cento Uno Superleggaro bikes. Star rider Alessandro Pettachi started to finally turn it on in finish sprints in the latter stages of the race.
Both of the two "home teams" at the race rode bikes from the Turkish maker, Scaldano. The winning team was sponsored by candy maker Torku, while the "B" team was titled by the bike maker itself.
WIN ZAP'S SCHWAG
My Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey backpack (filled with an official race shirt, hat and photo vest, plus a team Farnese Vini t-shirt) will go to the person who looks through my four Tour of Turkey posts and tells us 1. which bike or product they most covet and 2. of all the Tours on the schedule, which they would most like to attend and why? Heck, I'll even throw in a Road Bike Action water bottle & pair of socks to sweeten the deal! Send your reply to Road Bike Action.