Tour of Turkey will continue country’s cycling boost, federation chief says
The 49th edition of the Presidential Tour of Cycling, or Tour of Turkey, will start with the first stage on the Alanya-Gazipaşa-Alanya route on April 21 and will end in Istanbul on April 28. DHA photo
The 49th edition of the Presidential Tour of Cycling will continue to contribute to the recent rise of the sport in Turkey, the national federation chief said April 16.
Speaking at the event to launch Turkey’s biggest event in the sport, Turkish Cycling Federation chairman Emin Müftüoğlu said the boom had been seen in the last few years.
“We have information that both the sales of bicycles and the audience figures of the tour increased,” Müftüoğlu said. “We believe that this boils down to the Tour of Turkey.”
The Tour of Turkey starts with the April 21 opening round in Alanya and will span the country’s Mediterranean and Aegean coasts before the eighth and final stage in Istanbul on April 28.
Turkey’s Konya Torku Şeker Spor has raced in the event the last two years, and last year three Turkish cyclists qualified for the 2012 London Olympic Games, a first for Turkish cycling after 40 years.
“It was a great experience, it was very exciting,” cyclist Kemal Küçükbay said at the event, remembering the atmosphere. “The English supporters were very loud, and in the first 30 kilometers our ears were ringing from their support.”
Müftüoğlu also noted that Kazakh rider Alexander Vinokourov won the men’s road race at the Olympics, two months after participating the Tour of Turkey.
“The profile of the tour is really becoming something else,” the chairman said.
This year, important pro teams such as Astana of Kazakhstan, Dutch Blanco Pro Cycling Team and Team Argos-Shimano, Russia’s Katusha, Italy’s Lampre-Media, Danish Team Saxo-Tinkoff, Belgium’s Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Lotto Belisol, and Australian Orica GreenEDGE will compete in the event alongside 15 Pro Continental teams and a Continental team, Torku Şeker Spor.
This year’s major change is the addition of a second climb stage, which will take place on the Bodrum-Selçuk route, which includes a passage near the house of the Virgin Mary.
“Previously, the sprinters were dominating the race, but this year, the sixth stage will be where the tour will be won,” Abdurrahman Açıkalın, the race director said.