The sixth stage in the Tour of Turkey finishes in Gallipoli, a historic place for Australians and New Zealanders. More than ten thousand of their fellow countrymen died during the First World War on the shores of the Turkish island, after a disorganized and disastrous fight against the Ottoman Empire.
Gallipoli is where the Kiwis and Aussies were heavily beaten by the Ottoman Empire in the First World War. Over 500,000 people died, on both sides of the battlefield, including over 10,000 ANZACs. Anzac Day, which is just a few days after stage 6 in the Tour of Turkey (25th of April), is the most important day of remembrance in New Zealand and Australia. So, finishing in Gallipoli today is special for the Kiwis riding for Israel – Premier Tech in this race: Patrick Bevin, Corbin Strong, and also performance coach Greg Henderson.
Strong learned about Gallipoli in high school and says it is a big part of New Zealand’s history. “The Brits, French, Aussies, and Kiwis; the last two armies were called the ANZACs and consisted of 65,000 soldiers, who came by boat to secure a route to Russia. After eight months, the coalition of countries retreated, having lost hundreds of thousands of people.”
Greg Henderson, who did the Tour of Turkey multiple times when he was a rider, including stages that went to Gallipoli, says the day of remembrance, ANZAC Day, is one of the most significant days of commemoration in New Zealand. “It surpasses Armistice Day. Anzac Day is also a public holiday.”
Of particular importance were the mines the Ottoman Empire placed in the seas around the Dardanelles, a narrow sea passage near to Gallipoli. The mines caught many ships and submarines by surprise, which resulted in the subsequent sinking of ships and a massive number of casualties.
For Patrick Bevin, it will be special to race in Gallipoli. The importance of Gallipoli and the fight of the ANZACs is not lost on him. “One can say that today is going to be an ‘early ANZAC day’ for us in Turkey.”
The Kiwi himself is even one of the outsiders for the stage win in Gallipoli. The road rises in the final, which is actually to his liking. Bevin is also well-positioned in the general classification (second) and still has a chance to take over the lead.
Editor note: This story is just a short summary of what happened on Gallipoli over a period of months.