Australian cyclist Caleb Ewan marked a win in the 57th Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey on Friday by laying flowers on the graves of his ancestors who died in the World War I Battle of Canakkale (Gallipoli Campaign).
Ewan won the sixth stage of the tour, which hosted 157 participants from 25 teams, starting in the northwestern town of Akcay and ending on the historical Gelibolu (Gallipoli) peninsula.
The Tour of Turkey's stop in Gallipoli has special significance for all Australians, said the star Aussie cyclist, who had also claimed the first stage of the 57th Presidential Tour of Turkey.
Some 8,000-9,000 Australian soldiers died in the hard-fought Battle of Gallipoli from 1915 to 1916, as did nearly 3,000 New Zealand soldiers and 87,000 Ottoman soldiers. The star of the Lotto Soudal team said he would work extra hard on that leg of the tour.
Every ANZAC Day on April 25, the battle's pivotal place in the forging of ties between the nations of Turkey, Australia, and New Zealand is commemorated with a special dawn ceremony at Gallipoli.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Ewan said: "It has a special place for Australian history. Something that we learned about. It's my first time here.
"It's quite emotional seeing here. A lot of Australians lost their lives here. I feel good to come here and pay my respects."
Getting the opportunity to visit the site after the stage finished in Gallipoli served as extra motivation for Ewan, he said: adding: "I'm really happy l had time to come here and see all this."
"I'm doing something so small compared to what these guys did in the past. It's definitely not comparable. l dedicated my victory to the men and women who lost their lives here."
"l think a lot of Australians will come here to pay their respects," he said.
Australian Consul for Canakkale Lucas Robson, along with some of the other Australian cyclists, also visited the cemeteries.
Ewan sealed his victory at the sixth stage of the 57th Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey on Friday.
Ewan finished the 205-kilometer (127-mile) ride on the Edremit-Eceabat track in four hours and 54 minutes, tasting his second win in the race.