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Hossein Alizadeh with the yellow jersey
Iranian hoping to convert UCI points into European contract
Hossein Alizadeh was ecstatic on receiving the news he had been crowned the overall winner of the UCI Asia Tour. He gained enough of an advantage through his stage win and overall victory at the 2.HC Tour of Qinghai Lake to win the title. Stefan Schumacher made a strong attempt at the tours in China to overthrow the young Iranian's lead with the two separated by just two points at the completion of the final race counted for the 2012 season. Alizadeh is hoping his Tour title will see him riding for a bigger European team next year where he can show-off his climbing abilities.
"I am proud of myself for such an honour and that I could keep the leadership of the Iranian riders for the seventh consecutive year. Now I proved myself. I wanted to open a new way and now I fulfilled it. I'm now looking for a way to go Europe," Alizadeh said in an interview with the UCI.
Schumacher's stage win and overall victory at Tour of China I plus finishing second overall at Tour of China II were not enough to win the Asia title. The 31-year-old Christina Watches-Onfone rider has struggled to re-enter the WorldTour after testing positive for CERA (Continuous Erythropoiesis Receptor Activator) at the 2008 Tour de France and ended the year in second spot behind Alizadeh.
The 24-year-old Alizadeh on the other hand, has many good years ahead of him and he hopes his feats at the notoriously difficult Qinghai Lake tour, where he led the race for 10 days, the Asia Tour title and accumulated UCI points will be enough to gain the attention of a bigger European team.
It was "thanks to the exceptional work from my teammates. My hair stands on its end when I remember how they were working for me on the bike. So, the Tour of Qinghai Lake was miraculous. My good luck was back and this is where I took the lead in the UCI Asia Tour," he said.
Alizadeh has ridden for the Tabriz Petrochemical Cycling team was the past three seasons and won the national championship road race this year in his home city of Tabriz. He hopes that next year he can follow in the path of compatriots Amir Zagari (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Mehdi Sohrabi (Lotto-Belisol) who used their successes in Asia to gain contracts with ProTeams. Sohrabi and Zagari haven't enjoyed the same successes in Europe as they did in Asia however, Alizadeh isn't content with underpeforming - he's dreaming of riding the Tour de France.
"I am waiting for a proposition from European team. If I could find my way to Europe I will show my abilities. There are just a few races in the UCI Asia Tour which suit a climber. I hope this chance would be in 2013, if not then 2014. My dream is to be the first Iranian rider to compete in the Tour de France," he said.