Video: Sayar celebrating top career result after grabbing overall lead in Presidential Tour of Turkey
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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Video: Sayar celebrating top career result after grabbing overall lead in Presidential Tour of Turkey

by Shane Stokes at 4:35 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Video, Presidential Tour of Turkey
Says he had worked for six months to be ready for race, has nothing to say to questions in peloton

Mustafa SayarHe finished third from last in 2012, one hour 41 minutes and 34 seconds behind his former Torku team-mate Ivailo Gabrovski, but Mustafa Sayar has shrugged off questions about his domination of this year’s race and said questions relating to Gabrovski are not relevant to him.

Twelve months ago Continental level rider Gabrovski was head and shoulders above the rest of the field, but subsequently tested positive for EPO. Asked about that yesterday and what he would say to reassure those with concerns, Sayar implied that Gabrovski had taken risks.

“Cycling is a very difficult sport and every cyclist sometimes has these kind of difficulties in their careers,” he said at the post-race press conference, as shown below. “Gabrovsky was a very good sportsman, but he was too ambitious in doing such kind of a thing. I don’t think I will have the same situation.”

Sayar rode clear three kilometres from the top of yesterday’s finish at Selçuk, hitting the line eighteen seconds clear of a shattered Yoann Bagot and 23 ahead of his Cofidis team-mate Nicolas Edet.

The previous race leader Natnael Berhane (Europcar) had suffered a puncture just over 20 kilometres from the finish and while he was able to get back to the bunch and looked good on the early part of the climb, he faded towards the end and placed only twelfth, 43 seconds back.

Sayar moved 41 seconds ahead of the Eritrean rider and with just two flat stages to be covered, is looking like the most likely winner of the race.

“At the very beginning of the final climb, my team-mates helped me to go in the first positions. They brought me behind and after that, in the last three kilometres, I decided to attack,” he said afterwards. “It was early, maybe, but I should do so because if I waited until the end, I know that the others are better sprinters than me. Maybe I wouldn’t have this chance to pass them. So I decided to attack earlier.”

Once he went, the rest of the group was unable to respond. Riding into a headwind, Sayar eked out more and more time and hit the line far ahead.

By the team buses after the finish, some teams and riders appeared sceptical about the performance when speaking amongst themselves. Later, the German sprinter Marcel Kittel (Argos Shimano) appeared to be referring to Sayar when he tweeted, “I was not often in my life so angry about a result of someone else. And I see many people around me feeling the same. #TourofTurkey.”

The Team Saxo Tinkoff twitter reference to the stage also suggested raised eyebrows. “A VERY surprising stage win by Mustafa Sayar #tur2013. #Teamsaxotinkoff's Rory Sutherland finished side by side with Berhane.”

Sayar was told by a journalist during the press conference that some riders in the peloton had doubts. “What would you say to your colleagues?” he was asked.

His response was brief. “I don’t have an answer for them,” he said, before waiting for the next question.

Asked about his background, Sayar said that he had back troubles when he was younger and had to undergo operations to fix a disk. As a result he said that he wasn’t able to achieve his top performances at the time.

In 2011 he won the 2.2-ranked Tour of Isparta in Turkey and was also fourth in the similarly-ranked Tour of Alanya. Last year his results included seventh on a stage of the Tour of Serbia, again a 2.2-ranked event, plus second in the national road race championships.

This season he was the runner up in the Tour of Algeria and in the Tour de Blida, as well as fifth in the 1.2-ranked Circuit d’Alger.

He said that his current form in the Tour of Turkey is due to the fact that he and the team had worked hard for many months to peak for the race, being away from home for six months.

He also suggested that other riders were not at their top level yet. “My success today maybe is also linked with the conditions of the other climbers. Maybe they are not at the desired levels of fitness. It is true that in the month of April, it is not very easy to be in very good condition, but this what I have been training on for this Tour of Turkey. We believed and succeed.”


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