Spanish Pro-Continental team Caja Rural-Seguros will start the 2017 Tour of Turkey aiming to defend its general classification win from 2016. While the team has lost overall winner Jose Goncalves and is up against four WorldTour teams, last year's runner-up David Arroyo leads a versatile squad. Although Arroyo and Edu Prades are the only riders with previous experience at the race, the Caja Rural-Seguros team is capable of springing a surprise.
The 2017 Tour of Turkey takes place between 10-15 October, starting in Alanya and heading west along the coast and up to Istanbul for a final day circuit race.
Caja Rural-Seguros RGA has enjoyed several stage wins at the stage race in previous years and despite the new WorldTour status in 2017, sports director Eugenio Goikoetxea isn't fazed by the higher status and bigger rivals.
"We are going back to Turkey to do big things. We know it will be difficult, it's the end of the season, people are tired, but its a type of race that every rider wants to go to," Goikoetxea said. "We will be fighting to put in a good performance. It is a race that cannot be won in one stage but can be lost at any moment. It will be windy and we will see if that plays a part in the outcome of the race."
Alongside Arroyo, Antonio Molina and Chris Butler provide options in the mountainous stages for Caja Rural-Seguros RGA.
While the team is missing its start rider Jaime Roson, Italian Danilo Celano is finding his place in the team after a mid-season transfer from Amore & Vita. With a Vuelta a Espana in their legs, Héctor Saez and Rafael Reis should be important riders for the team to ensure its GC bid remains intact.
"The mountain finish will also play a critical part of the final GC. This race was not in our original race programme, but it is always motivation to be able to participate in World Tour events," added Goikoetxea.
Cyclingnews will have full coverage from the Tour of Turkey.