Astana:We’re Coming To Defend Our TUR Championship Title
Both its dates in the annual race schedules and Turkey’s warm climate for the European teams which just had tough winter conditions in their hometowns, with its outstanding nature and history makes the TUR more excited in its last days.
Teams have chosen their staff meticulously, considering the course changes and added steeper climbs even will be tough for strong teams and cyclists. Pro teams have been trying to participate with their strongest cyclists to be able to get the Turquoise jersey. The teams will show up on 18th and 19th of April in Turkey for the 49th edition of Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey. We keep sharing opinions of the teams completed preparation phase to you.
With no doubt, all eyes will be on Kazakh team Astana which was the Tour winner last year. After Bulgarian cyclist Ivailo Gabrowski had positive result in EPO test, his 2012 TUR winner title had been taken and the title had been given to the second winner Alexandr Dyachenko, announced as the winner of the race. Astana’s team responsible Chris Baldwin said, “Our team is very strong and we’re coming to Turkey to defend our champion title here. Besides, we are targeting stage winning with Andrea Guardini in several sprint stages”.
Andrea Guardini who was in Farnese Vini team then, had gotten attention on himself by winning the 1st and 7th stages among popular names in 2011 TUR, which was the first year of his professional career. 2 TUR stage winner 23 year old Italian cyclist who is transferred to Astana team this year, will be trying to win several stages this year as well.
After climbing profiles added to the race website, pro teams paid more attention on choosing the best cyclists matching with the race conditions. Especially after having “Elmalı” summit finish last year for the first time in TUR history, it was globally called a mini “Alp d’Huez” and liked much. By added even more new climbs in addition to Elmalı, it naturally caused a change on teams’ traditional selecting with the majority of sprinter cyclists. Baldwin said, “Astana pro team has strong athletes who are able to win any race and be able to compete in any kind of race. While making our staff up, we chose a balanced group by having both climber athletes and sprinter athletes. Since the TUR has more climbs this year, we think that climbers have more chance. We decided the best team for 2013 would be balanced and mixed team.”
When we asked to the Astana team that which stage of 2013 TUR would be best for their team and they answered; “In our opinion, TUR’s 5th stage with Turgutreis finish will be an important stage for testing the teams’ might and we’ll see how many teams can ride together in this many climbs. But maybe the 6th stage with Selçuk finish will be the determinent for the general classification. We surely also value the final and the best stage of TUR, Istanbul. Every rider will pass by the beautiful bosphorus bridge like a dream and there will be the win happening in the best city of the world.”
After having the changes on the stages, how its being evaluated by the teams? For the teams which target the general classification winning, they will have to perform even better than earlier. For more sprinter kind of teams, this situation especially will be harder in the hilly stages, but teams which will have a well mixed cyclists may benefit from this anyway. For Astana, “Its imposible to say if it is negative or positive for the team before the TUR ends. When you lay down and analyze the week, you think about your team’s faults and other teams’ mistakes. In our preparations so far, we didnt see any mistake done by the organization. We dont make a mistake either. Positive changes, new climbs and the further reach of the tv broadcast like globally broadcasting. These are fantastic. If more audience watch Turkey’s beauties and this cycling race by the helicopter’s camera, we will feel honor to be a part of this race. Vinokourov is very busy as being Astana pro team manager this year. But Vinokourov thinks that TUR will even get a bigger event. Especially he remembers how he could sprinted in 2nd stage after having the surgery from his leg last year.”
What are Astana Pro Team’s opinions on Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey? How is the quality of this race? We asked this question to the Kazakh team and got their opinions below;
Baldwin, “There are 2 advantages for the presidential cycling tour of Turkey when you compare it with the rest of the world. While you are organizing a top class pro cycling event, they have huge experiences about giving thousands of decisions. It has always been making us happy to visit Turkey, see old fellows here. We always look forward to have this race.”
Astana Pro Team’s athletes are Andrea Guardini, Assan Bazayev, Evan Huffman, Andrey Kashechkin, Arman Kamyshev, Kevin Seeldraeyers, Ruslan Tleubayev, Jacopo Guarnieri for the 49th Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey will be held on 21-28th of April.