Riccardo Minali (Astana) rounded out the podium of stage 2. Bennett retains the leader's jersey heading into Stage 3.
101 riders started Stage 2 after Russian sprinter Alexander Porsev of Gazprom-RusVelo was forced to abandon following his crash the day before. After 15 kilometres of racing, Onur Balkan (Turkish national team) and Mirco Maestri (Bardiani CSF) escaped the clutches of the peloton. For the second straight day, Balkan won the Turkish beauties sprint and increased his lead in the white jersey competition. Maestri focused on the two KOM prizes of the day to take the red jersey over from his teammate Enrico Barbin.
After two and a half hours of racing, the leaders had an advantage of four minutes. Then Murilo Affonso (Soul Brasil) attacked out of the peloton, hoping to make it across to the leaders. With 95km to go he reached the two leaders. The three-man breakaway led by three minutes at with 89km to go.
With 82km to go, Maestri attacked alone. Affonso countered and rode across to him, leaving Balkan to await the arrival of the peloton. Behind them, Eugenio Alafaci (Trek-Segafredo), Michael Schwarzmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) and his teammate Leopold König led the main group. Inside the final 80km, the lead of the two escapees hovered around the two minutes 10 seconds mark.
With 74km still to ride, an incident in the peloton left two Astana Pro Team riders on the ground. Sergei Chernetckii was the second Russian rider forced to pull out.
With 20km to go, the advantage of the leaders dropped within one minute. With Michael Schwarzmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) leading the peloton, the two leaders were doomed. The catch took place with 11.8km to go, and the race speed, set by Schwarzmann and Greg Daniel (Trek-Segafredo), was immediately searing.
Astana Pro Team then showed themselves at the front for the first time, with Dmitriy Gruzdev leading the train for Riccardo Minali. Trek-Segafredo led the sprint out for Theuns but Bennett proved himself once again as the most explosive sprinter of the 53rd Presidential Tour of Turkey. He claimed his eighth victory of the year, a career record so far for the Irishman.
“It was a long day and we had headwind,” said Enrico Poitschke, sports director of BORA – hansgrohe, who was more than happy with his second victory in Turkey.
“We were able to control the race, especially Leo (König) and Schwarzi did a great job. Everyone was again involved in this victory and Sam had good legs. It is really nice to win two stages in a row and defend the leaders jersey."