Intercontinental cycling event Tour of Turkey starts in Mediterranean
The 48th Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey started yesterday in the Mediterranean resort town of Alanya. The Tour of Turkey will end on the Anatolian side of Istanbul on April 29 with an intercontinental stage that passes over the Bosphorus Bridge. AA photoThe 48th edition of Turkey’s biggest cycling event, the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey, started yesterday with a special stage in the Mediterranean resort town of Alanya.
Theo Bos of Rabobank, who survived a massive pile-up 500 meters from the finish line, won yesterday’s first stage in three hours five minutes and 55 seconds, ahead of Matt Goss. No rider was seriously injured in the accident.
The eight-stage, 1174-kilometer tour will end on the Anatolian side of Istanbul on April 29 with an intercontinental stage that passes over the Bosphorus Bridge.
Two continental teams represent Turkey
Riders from 25 teams, nine of which are professional teams, will be competing for the title. The professional teams include Astana, SaxoBank, Rabobank and Katusaha, while two continental teams, Konya Torku Şeker Spor and Salcano-Arnavutköy Cycling Team are representing the home country at the prestigious event.
“The Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey, during which the best teams compete and which increasingly draws the attention of the world, will take its place among the world’s most important events through the collaboration and promotion we all lend,” Turkish President Abdullah Gül wrote in his welcoming remarks to the teams and riders.
The clash between two German sprint stars, Andre Greipel and Marcel Kittel, will be the rivalry to watch at the event. Greipel, who has won six Tour of Turkey stages in his two previous appearances, will be looking to increase that number. “After a short break, I’m ready to lift the gauntlet again in the Tour of Turkey, hopefully with better cards to play for our team,” Greipel said recently.
Kittel said he was looking forward to race against Greipel. “It will be interesting, but there are lots of other sprinters at the start who will make the quality level of sprint finishes extremely high. It will be my return race after a short period of rest and training and I must first get back to competition pace. These last couple of years, the Tour of Turkey favored sprinters and that’s why I want to go and taste victory again.”
The Tour of Turkey will also witness the farewell of one of cycling’s major names, Alexander Vinokourov. The 38-year-old Kazakh rider is in his final season as a professional cyclist and will appear on Turkish roads for the last time.
Teammates set eyes on overall victory
“I see the Tour of Turkey as a perfect test for the Giro d’Italia and our GC riders, Alexandr Dyachenko and Andrey Zeits, will be looking for overall victory,” said Vinokurov.
The rider is not a stranger to Turkey. “It’s a great country to go on holiday. But I also raced there … It was in 1995 with the Kazakh team and we won the overall with Vadim Kravchenko, our country’s great track specialist. I’m glad to return to Turkey.”
The Tour of Turkey will be broadcast daily on Turkey’s state-owned television network TRT and Eurosport, at 3 p.m. Turkish time.