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“Should we hope to be WorldTour next year? I think so. We will strive to be a leader in sport and ask that the UCI and the citizens of the world not be afraid to give Turkey a chance.”

Photo: Tour of Turkey/Brian Hodes

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07.05.2016 @ 12:00 Posted by Joseph Doherty

In 2015, there was talk of the 2017 UCI WorldTour reforms making the Tour of Turkey a WorldTour race. Fast-forward 12 months and thanks to poor organising and terrorist threats, the race struggled to attract top tier riders.

 

“The teams never heard any [from the race] until last week before our refusal to participate due to travel warnings by the government,” UnitedHealthcare sport director Hendrik Redant told VeloNews. “I did not have any information at all, while last year everything (travel, accommodation, race profiles, and logistics) were already organized at least one month before the race. We canceled the race, as we had not so good travel advice from the government.”

 

UCI President Brian Cookson says the problems the race suffered are definitely surmountable and he still sees the race as having a great future.

 

“From time to time, events have perceived problems,” Cookson told VeloNews prior to stage 1. “The issue of safety and security is certainly relevant in every country in every part of the world, so I am here as a demonstration that I think the Tour of Turkey is a great race with a great future. We are doing an appraisal during the course of this year about the future for the WorldTour, and I am optimistic that this race is going to go on to be bigger and better in the future.”

 

The organisers have admitted the faults of the race and will set about trying to fix the issues ahead of the 2017 race.

 

“There were two faults in front of us to make it better,” said team relations advisor and project coordinator Gürol Çaydaş to VeloNews. “One was time, as we started very late because of the decision to put the contract to tender just 78 days prior to the event. The other one, as everybody knows, was doubts about traveling overseas to a country that has had its fair share of trouble in recent months, not unlike the bombings in Paris and Brussels.”

 

Caydas said the organisation can certainly be fixed ahead of next year’s race, but the terrorist threat is out of their hands. He says that no race can guarantee a rider or a team 100% safety in the 2016.

 

“Nobody can guarantee 100 percent safety at any sporting event anywhere in the world, that is just a sad fact in the current state of the world we live in,” explained Çaydaş. “But our presidency left nothing to chance and provided the highest level of security to protect the riders, the teams, the volunteers, the media, and the spectators.”

 

Caydas says the race still hopes to be part of the WorldTour in 2016. Based on the racing displayed over the eight days, it certainly merits this, as the racing was fantasticly aggressive and exciting, with Caja Rural, Lampre-Merida and Lotto-Soudal putting on a show in the opening four days.

 

“Should we hope to be WorldTour next year? Yes, I think so,” he said. “We are committed to growing this race and all of our sporting events in Turkey to the highest level. Life is going ahead normally. Yes, there are things happening here and around the world, but we will continue to strive to be a global leader in sport and ask that the UCI and the citizens of the world not be afraid to give Turkey a chance.”

 

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