By Fatih Erel
ISTANBUL (AA) - The 55th edition of the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey, the world's only cycling tour to connect the continents, kicked off in Istanbul on Tuesday as a part of the “UCI World Tour” calendar for the third time.
In the world's only cycling tour to connect the continents, cyclists will also ride at the final stage in the Eurasia tunnel connecting Asia to Europe beneath the Bosphorus Strait.
The first stage started in Istanbul and will end in Tekirdag on a 156.7-km route.
The Tour of Turkey will be held between April 16-21, with 119 cyclists from 17 teams.
Four World Tour teams are also among 17 teams which will cycle in about 1,000km-long 6-day race.
The race will be broadcast in 185 countries.
Organized by the Turkish Cycling Federation, the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey debuted in 1963 and became an international race two years later.
Started in 1963 as "Tour of Marmara", this year's tour will follow a similar "Nostalgic" route to its first edition.
As one of Turkey's most prestigious worldwide sporting events, the 55th edition of the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey will make a new start this year with its new slot in April on “UCI World Tour” calendar.
In recent years, most of the stages in the tour were used to be organized along the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts. This year, the race moved to different parts of the country in order to promote historical and natural richness of these regions through cycling as the organization has been held in the Marmara region this time.
Teams departing from Istanbul will head to Tekirdag, Eceabat, Canakkale, Edremit, Balikesir, Bursa, Sakarya and will see the ultimate finish again in Istanbul.
Comprising from six new stages, the Tour 2019 will be held along a route that exceeds a thousand of kilometers on which world-class teams and ace riders will be crossing the continents at Canakkale, from Europe to Asia.
Stages of the Tour 2019:
April 16: Istanbul-Tekirdag (156,7 km)
April 17: Tekirdag-Eceabat (183,3 km)
April 18: Canakkale-Edremit (122,6 km)
April 19: Balikesir-Bursa (194,3 km)
April 20: Bursa-Kartepe (164,1 km)
April 21: Sakarya-Istanbul (172,4 km)
World Tour teams:
Bora Hansgrohe (Germany)
Deceuninck Quick-Step (Belgium)
Dimension Data (South Africa)
BAE Emirates (UAE)
Lotto Soudal (Belgium)
Other professional teams:
Caja Rural (Spain)
Delko Marseille Provence KTM (France)
Euskadi Murias (Spain)
Manzana Postobon (Colombia)
Neri Sottoli Selle Italy KTM (Italy)
Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane (Italy)
Rally UHC (USA)
Sport Vlaanderen (Belgium)
W52 Porto (Portugal)