Mark Cavendish takes the honours in a scrappy bunch sprint in Alanya and secures early race lead

Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) won the opening stage of the Presidential Tour of Turkey on Sunday at the end of a chaotic bunch sprint.

Orica-GreenEdge had led the peloton as the race hit the final five kilometres on the coastal stage from Alanya to Alanya before a succession of teams jostled to take position at the front.

It looked as though Cavendish had placed himself too far back, but his ability to find gaps in the peloton and squeeze through his rivals came to the fore, and as he broke to the front he  put in a turn of speed that no-one could match.

Elia Viviani (Cannondale) came home for second, with Theo Bos (Belkin) in third.

Cavendish will now swap his British national champion’s jersey for the the leader’s jersey in his first appearance in the race. And he will no doubt be pleased with the huge bunch of bananas he was presented with on the podium.

A lingering illness had wrecked Cavendish’s spring schedule, forcing him to miss Ghent-Wevelgem, the Three Days of De Panne and Scheldeprijs. Now, though, he looks to be back on top form and back on track for his main aim to wear the yellow jersey when the Tour de France hits Harrogate in July.

The eight-stage race concludes in Istanbul on Sunday, May 4.

Result
Presidential Tour of Turkey 2014, stage one: Alanya to Alanya, 141km
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
2. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale
3. Theo Bos (Ned) Belkin
4. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida
5. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport-Vlaanderen all same time

Overall classification after stage one
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
2. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale
3. Theo Bos (Ned) Belkin
4. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida
5. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport-Vlaanderen all same time

Mark Cavendish wins Stage 1 of the 2014 Tour of Turkey

Mark Cavendish wins Stage 1 of the 2014 Tour of Turkey