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Durasek to defend in Tour of Turkey

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Kristijan Durasek (Lampre-Merida) is leading the overall race at the Tour of Turkey

Kristijan Durasek (Lampre-Merida) is leading the overall race at the Tour of Turkey
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) takes the Tour of Turkey stage 5 win

Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) takes the Tour of Turkey stage 5 win
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The Tour of Turkey peloton entered the mountains on stage 3.

The Tour of Turkey peloton entered the mountains on stage 3.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The Tour of Turkey peloton in action during stage two.

The Tour of Turkey peloton in action during stage two.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

The Presidential Tour of Turkey is set to go ahead on Sunday with only 16 teams on the start line in Istanbul, down from 21 last year. Only two WorldTour teams, Lotto Soudal and the Lampre-Merida team of defending champion Kristijan Durasek are on the roster, down from nine in previous years.

There are eight Pro Continental and six Continental teams starting, but the American team UnitedHealthcare, which was originally on the list of teams competing, is no longer in the race. The US State Department issued a warning to Americans travelling to Turkey last month over "increased threats from terrorist groups throughout Turkey", in particular southeastern Turkey on the Syrian border.

The Tour of Turkey begins in Istanbul and then transfers to Cappadocia for one stage before making its way to the southwestern border of Turkey, along the Mediterranean coast.

Durasek will be joined by Chun Kai Feng, Roberto Ferrari, Ilia Koshevoy, Sacha Modolo, Przemyslaw Niemiec, Simone Petilli and Xu Gang in defense of his title, but team directeur Bruno Vicino says Durasek is suffering from the effects of a crash in the Giro dell'Appennino.

"It will be difficult to repeat last year's success, however Kristijan is tenacious and he'll give the best to be competitive," Vicino said. "We will also rely on good climbers such as Niemiec, Koshevoy and Petilli, who will all try to demonstrate their value in view of a possible participation in the Giro d'Italia."

Vicino also said that Modolo will be using the race to hone his sprint with Ferrari. "Last year, he obtained one victory which was prelude to the two successes he got in the Giro d'Italia."

2016 Tour of Turkey teams

Lampre – Merida
Lotto Soudal
Delko Marseille Provence KTM
Southeast – Venezuela
Verva Activejet Pro Cycling Team
Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
Funvic Soul Cycles – Carrefour
Team Roth
Nippo - Vini Fantini
CCC Sprandi Polkowice
Torku Sekerspor
Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team
Unieuro Wilier
Alpha Baltic - Maratoni.lv
Hrinkow Advarics Cycleangteam
Astana City