The Presidential Tour of Turkey, taking place from April 12-19, will see Dutch cyclist Theo Bos at the start, along with 160 riders lining up in Istanbul. A five-time world champion on the track, the 25 year-old from the Netherlands is switching to road cycling this season and rides for the Rabobank team's Continental squad.
Bos' failure at the Beijing Olympics last August triggered his decision to ride the road, which was however on the back of his mind beforehand. "My dream has always been to be a sprinter of the Tour de France," Bos said. "Right after the Olympics in Beijing, I said to myself that it was time to give it a try. I've already done Athens and Beijing, London looks far ahead and I wasn't prepared to focus for four more years on the same goal."
Bos then entered the Rabobank Continental team, having an intense race programme but staying away from media pressure. His first win on the road came on February 15 at the RTP Algarve Trophy in Portugal.
"It's a completely different job", he added. "In the past, a race was lasting only 30 to 40 seconds for me. Nowadays, it's 200 kilometres long and I have to sprint for the last 50 kilometres for positioning. Only after that it's a real sprint for the win. The change is a difficult but very motivating challenge. I give myself one year to see how it goes. If I realise I can become a great rider, I'll definitely opt for road racing. Otherwise, I'll keep the Olympics in mind. It's in three years time."
And Bos is already making significant progress within the pro peloton. "Last week at the Lombardian Week I finished third behind Alessandro Petacchi and it was a very tough stage," he continued. "It's very encouraging. I'm looking forward to the Tour of Turkey because there are many opportunities for sprinters. To win a stage is my real goal."
At the Presidential Tour of Turkey, the Rabobank Continental team will consist of Theo Bos, Boy Van Poppel (the son of former Tour de France stage winner Jean-Paul Van Poppel), Tejay Van Garderen, Joeri Adams, Martijn Keizer, Mats Boeve, Thomas Rabou and Michaël Van Staeyen.
Other teams participating in the race are: Fuji - Servetto, Team Milram, Silence - Lotto, Lampre - NGC, Quick Step, Contentpolis - Ampo, ELK Haus, CSF Group - Navigare, A & S - Caffè Mokambo, PSK Whirlpool - Author, Barloworld - Bianchi, Vorarlberg - Corratec, Xacobeo - Galicia, ISD Cycling Team, Team Neotel, Loborika, Cycling Club Bourgas, German National Team, Türkiye National Team.