One of the challenges of being a cycling fan is trying to interpret what’s happening on the road, as seen on our screens. Television commentators will helpfully give us their version of events and we may be assisted by snippets of pre-race interviews with riders and directeur sportifs. We may have read some race previews in the press or on the internet to help our comprehension or add to our confusion. More data doesn’t necessarily equal more information, as everyone weighs in with their penny’s worth. VeloVoices are fortunate to gain some additional insight thanks to updates from Geoffroy Lequatre (Bretagne-Schuller) at this week’s International Presidential Tour of Turkey.
The 48th International Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey (Turkish: Cumhurbaşkanlığı Bisiklet Turu) is an eight-day stage race which runs from Sunday 22nd until Sunday 29th April. It started in earnest in 2002 and initially attracted little attention either from Europe’s major cycling teams or its best riders. However, the Tour’s recent elevation in ranking has attracted an increasingly competitive field. It 2006 it was ranked a 2.2 event, before being upgraded to 2.1 in 2008, and then again to 2.HC for the 2010 edition. This year sees 25 teams take to the start, including nine ProTeams, 14 ProContinental and two local Continental teams.
Cycling in Turkey has made much progress in recent years where it’s a rapidly growing sport, probably in no small part due to the Tour. In the last four years, the Turkish cycling federation has created seven international lower-level, four-day races. Two continental teams have been set up, both of which will taking part in this year’s race – Salcano-Arnavutkoy and Konya-Torku Seker Spor. In addition, for the first time since Montreal 1976, Turkey will field a team of three ex-mountain bikers in the London Olympic road race.