Unlike Cavendish, Bennett has been successful in claiming all three stages in a row, something that hasn’t been done since the Tour of Turkey was promoted to the pro level in 2008.
The Irishman won his third stage in Marmaris, confirming his superiority over Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) and five Italians, the first of them, Simone Consonni (UAE Team Emirates) taking his first podium placing in Turkey.
99 riders started Stage 3 of the 53rd Presidential Tour of Turkey in Fethiye. Ferit Can Samlı (Turkish national team) and Gregory Daniel (Trek-Segafredo) rode away from the gun, joined a few kilometres further by Thomas Deruette (WB Veranclassic).
The maximum time difference between the leading trio and the peloton was six minutes and 20 seconds at kilometre 22.
KOM leader Mirco Maestri (Bardiani CSF) took fourth place at the only categorized climb of the day (32.9km) behind Deruette, Samlı and Daniel to retain the red jersey. After 50km of racing, the deficit of the peloton led by Leo König (Bora-Hansgrohe) at the service of race leader Sam Bennett was stabilized around five minutes. It was later reduced under the action of the Wilier Triestina team.
After he won the Turkish beauties sprint with 27km to go, Daniel forged on while his two breakaway companions got reeled in. Daniel was caught 10km before the finish line.
In the closing kilometres, the Androni-Sidermec team upped the tempo on the climb preceding the long downhill to the sea side in Marmaris but Bennett was strong enough to stay in the bunch. The sprint was launched by Italian neo pro Simone Consonni but Bennett timed it right to outclass Edward Theuns for the third straight day.
Tour of Turkey leader Sam Bennett was more than happy after his third stage win. “When the group split, I had the support of three of the guys again,” said Bennett.
“It was a technical finish but I came out of the final bend in the perfect position. Delighted with a third victory for the team, the sponsors and to reward the guys for their amazing work.”
The Irishman scored the first hat-trick of his career. However, he expects to lose the leader’s turquoise jersey tonight as the 204.1km long Stage 4 takes the peloton to Selçuk in an uphill finish leading to the house of Virgin Mary.