48th Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey

It's impossible for us to miss the Presidential Tour of Turkey, unless we go away for the day, as it passes our building no less than eight times in the closing laps of this gruelling race. We can also watch the progress of the race on television at the same time, so we know just when to go out on to the balcony to cheer them on, or in my case to take photos.

Our road is closed for the race, so here is an unusual view of
our usually traffic congested road, Bağdat Caddesi.

We had a great view of the race from our balcony

There are eight stages of the tour in various parts of western Turkey, and the final 120 kilometre lap is in Istanbul. This last leg began in Sultanahmet, by the Aya Sofya, crossed both the Galata and Bosphorus Bridges, and ended in the Bostanci Coastal Highway, close to where we live.

I rushed down to the finishing line, just in time to see the
beginning of the last lap. The ultimate winner, Ivailo Grabovski,
can be seen in the green strip here

This is the sprint to the finish from the 300 metre mark

Both the first and last stages were won by the Dutch rider, Theo Bos, riding in the Rabobank team. But the overall winner was Ivailo Grabovski from Bulgaria, riding for the Turkish team Konya Torku Seker Spor, so you can imagine the excitement of the crowds when that was announced.

The Dutch cyclist, Theo Bos, being congratulated by Abdullah Gül, the President of Turkey. On the lright is Andrew Fenn (GBR) second,
and on the left Stefan van Dijk (Ned) third.

The leader jerseys were awarded as follows: Turquoise Jersey (Overall Winner) was presented to Ivailo Gabrovski (Bulgaria); Red Jersey (King of the Mountains, or best climber) was presented to Marco Bandiera (Italy); Green Jersey (Points) was presented to Matthew Goss (Australia); and White Jersey (Sprints) was presented to Maxim Belkov (Russia); and the best team effort was won by Astana from Kazakhstan.

The winners!

There's never a dull moment here in Istanbul!

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