April's Tour of Turkey postponed, will seek later date

The Tour of Turkey, originally scheduled to make its WorldTour debut April 18-23, has been postponed and will seek a later date on the 2017 calendar, the UCI announced today.

"Following its request and the approval of the Professional Cycling Council (PCC), the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announces that the 2017 edition of the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey has been postponed from its scheduled date in April," the sport's governing body announced in a statement released Wednesday, adding that a revised date for the event would be considered at the next PCC meeting in March.

The Tour of Turkey gained WorldTour status this season after having been a 2.HC race sine 2010. Its April spot on the calendar conflicted with several other races, however, starting two days after the Amstel Gold Race and running concurrently with La Flèche Wallonne on April 19 and Liège-Bastogne-Liège on April 23. The Tour of Romandie begins April 25.

The conflicting races, combined with security concerns raised by the war in Syria, recent terrorist attacks and the failed coup attempt in 2016, have kept almost all of the 18 WorldTour teams from accepting invitations to the Turkish race. A report earlier this month said only one team had accepted an invitation to the race.

The Tour of Turkey was one of 11 races the UCI added to the WorldTour for 2017, and although changes introduced in January require the new events to maintain 10 WorldTour teams on the start line, participation by the teams in the new WorldTour races is entirely voluntary. Moreover, races that cannot attract at least 10 WorldTour teams are subject to being removed from the WorldTour calendar.

The February 3 report revealed that Tour of Turkey organisers traveled to Luxembourg for the recent cyclo-cross World Championships and asked the UCI to move the race to October or November. That request was initially denied, but possible new dates will be discussed by the PCC in March.

The Tour of Turkey was first on the UCI calendar in 2005 as a 2.2 race and then reappeared in 2008 with a 2.1 ranking. It has been a 2.HC race since 2010, the year Giovanni Visconti won ahead of Tejay van Garderen. There were only two WorldTour teams in last year's race, with Lampre-Merida and Lotto Soudal competing against a host of Pro Continental and Continental teams. José Gonçalves, riding for Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, won the overall and signed with Katusha-Alpecin for this year.

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