International Cycling

UCI postpones Tour of Turkey

2017-02-16 16:03
Cycling (File)

Istanbul - Cycling's governing body has postponed the 2017 Tour of Turkey that was scheduled for April, reportedly after clashes with other races and the security situation prompted minimal interest from teams.

The Tour of Turkey, which takes place under the auspices of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is an annual event and Turkey's premier cycling race of the year.

It has recently attracted some top names including sprint stars Mark Cavendish of Britain and Germany's Andre Greipel.

The UCI said in a statement late on Wednesday that "the 2017 edition of the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey has been postponed from its scheduled date in April".

"A revised date for the event in the UCI World Tour calendar will be considered at the next meeting of the Professional Cycling Council (PCC), which is scheduled for March."

It did not give further details. But the head of Turkey's cycling federation Erol Kucukbakirci told state media earlier this month he had asked the UCI for a delay until October due to the congested cycling schedule.

The Tour of Turkey traces its history back to the early 1960s but this was the first time it was to be held as an elite UCI World Tour race.

Cycling News said the 18-23 April race dates clashed with major one-day Spring Classics in Belgium including La Fleche Wallonne on April 19 and Liege-Bastogne-Liege on April 23.

This, along with security concerns after hundreds were killed in Turkey last year in terror attacks and the failed July 15 coup, meant almost none of the 18 World Tour teams had accepted an invitation to the event, it said.

To be included on the World Tour, at least 10 World Tour teams need to be on the start line.

Turkey remains an ambitious contender for top sporting events as Erdogan works to revamp its infrastructure.

On Wednesday Turkey launched a bid to host the Euro 2024 football championships. And despite losing out to Tokyo for 2020, speculation remains that Istanbul still dreams of hosting an Olympics.

Read more on:    cycling
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