Images: ©Petros Gkotsis / Words by Neofytos Sakellaridis-Mangouras
Nearly two decades after a certain Fabian Cancellara took the GC of this early spring tour, the International Tour of Rhodes was revived this year in the form of a UCI 1.2 one day race, and a 2.2 ranked stage race.
The one-day race would be a fitting route; a circumnavigation of the island, 191 km in total. Although it was not devoid of attacks the race culminated in a final group sprint.
The sprint was a quite an eventful one: not only was there a hair-raising crash with heavy injuries but also a prematurely hand-raising runner-up. CCC Sprandi Polkowice's Alan Banaszek showed the power of a single pedal stroke winning for a mere 2 millimeters in a photo finish over Ahmet Örken of Torku Şekerspor.
As the one-day race came to an end, so did the normally pleasant Rhodes weather. The Tour that followed was a test of strength, stamina, and willpower as the biblical downpours made it more epic than the Colossus himself.
This abnormal weather lent itself to a splintering of the bunch and, ultimately, a solo baroudeur stamping authority on the Tour from the very first stage. Roth Akros' Colin-Chris Stüssi took a famous victory and the jersey - which he would never relinquish, taking the GC victory as well.
The motif of medium group sprints was found in the remaining two stages with Leopard Pro Cycling's Szymon Rekita taking stage 2 and the lion-maned Danish Champion, Alexander Kamp, taking out stage 3 for Bjarne Riis's Veloconcept team.
All in all the top 3 of the GC read:
- Colin-Chris Stüssi ROTH - AKROS
- Asmund-Romstad Lovik ΤΕΑΜ FixIT.no 1
- Cyrille Thierry SWISS NATIONAL TEAM
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