International Cycling Union (UCI), the world governing body of the sport, has postponed the 2017 Tour of Turkey scheduled for April, reportedly due to clashes with other races in its calendar.
The Tour of Turkey, which takes place under the auspices of the Turkish Presidency, is an annual event and Turkey’s premier cycling race.
In its last edition, the tour attracted some top names, including sprint stars like Britain’s Mark Cavendish and Germany’s Andre Greipel.
The UCI, in a statement late Wednesday, said, “The 2017 edition of the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey has been postponed from its scheduled date in April. A revised date for the event in the UCI World Tour calendar will be considered at the next meeting of the Professional Cycling Council (PCC), which is scheduled for March.” It did not add any further details. Erol Küçükbakırcı, the head of Turkish Cycling Federation, talking to Anadolu Agency (AA) earlier this month, said he had asked the UCI to delay the event until October due to a congested annual cycling calendar.
Küçükbakırcı told the AA that the original date was just three days after a race in the Netherlands and immediately before another competition in Italy.
“Some teams in the past have left Turkey before finishing the race thus we have requested a change to prevent that from happening. We think October will be a more appropriate month for the race,” he said.
The history of the Tour of Turkey can be traced back to as early as the 1960s, but this was the first time it would to be held as an elite UCI World Tour event.
Meanwhile, “Cycling News,” said the dates between April 18 and April 23 clashed with major one-day Spring Classics in Belgium including La Fleche Wallonne on April 19 and Liege-Bastogne-Liege on April 23.
Turkey remains an ambitious contender for top sporting events as President Erdoğan works to revamp its infrastructure.
On Wednesday, Turkey launched its bid to host the Euro 2024 football championships and despite losing out to Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics, speculation remains that Istanbul still dreams of hosting the Olympics.