Video: Sayar may consider a bigger team after Presidential Tour of Turkey win
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Monday, April 29, 2013

Video: Sayar may consider a bigger team after Presidential Tour of Turkey win

by Shane Stokes at 6:24 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Video, Presidential Tour of Turkey
Talks about health, buildup to race and says he’s not happy to face questions

Mustafa SayarHaving picked up a bundle of UCI points for the biggest-ever success of his career, Presidential Tour of Turkey victor Mustafa Sayar said yesterday that he may consider offers to change teams. The points gained in taking the race could make him attractive to other squads, particularly as points and rankings become important heading into 2014.

“Now we have new tours that we will prepare for, in Asia and Europe,” he said during the post-race press conference [see video below]. “I don’t have any ideas (thoughts) about a new team, but after the season is completed, maybe we can think about this.”

Sayar took the lead with a dominant performance on stage six, breaking clear on the final climb to Selcuk and deposing the then-leader Natnael Berhane (Europcar).

The performance saw him ride away from the entire field, performing at a level considerably higher than he had done in the past. His previous successes were in smaller races; he won the 2.2-ranked Tour of Isparta in Turkey two years ago 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. More recently he was the runner up in both the 2013 Tour of Algeria and the Tour de Blida.

However none of those races featured WorldTour riders, leading to scrutiny about his improvement since last year’s Presidential Tour of Turkey. He was third from-last then, although he was riding for his team-mate Ivailo Gabrovsky.

“As I told you before, we prepared for this race for maybe six months, doing a very hard tempo of training,” he explained during the conference, when asked about that improvement. “We were always abroad in foreign competitions. These competitions made me develop very much.

“Psychologically I was in a very good situation, I felt very good psychologically. I know that high altitude training also makes very good competition. Where I live is a place of very high altitude.”

He also suggested that his dominance is due in part to his six month preparation for this event, peaking for his national Tour through training camps and overseas competition, and also because he feels that the international representation at the Presidential Tour of Turkey is more centred towards sprinters than climbers.

However some within the peloton have raised questions in recent days because of his high level of performance, because his team does not have a biological passport due to being a Continental squad, and also because last year’s team-mate and race winner Gabrovsky failed a test for EPO after being similarly dominant against the bigger teams.

Sayar said he is irked by such questions and states that he has nothing to do with what went on before. “Gabrovsky now is in the past. Now I am very confident of myself and I don’t think I will have this kind of problem,” he said.

“I am not happy to receive these kind of questions while there is nothing to be proven about myself. I am not happy to be asked these kind of questions.”

Sayar began cycling at eleven, thirteen years ago, and has been a member of the Torku team in recent seasons. He said that he was hindered by a back problem and underwent a big operation two years ago to rectify it. “Four doctors out of five said I should stop cycling. But in spite of this, I continued to practice cycling,” he said.

“I'm from the Black Sea region and there are lots of hills and climbs. I train there. I had a wonderful training camp in the last period and we took great care of our training and feeding. I know also in cycling weight is an important factor. It is very important. After all that, I think my team worked really hard and good for me.”

Feted by a large crowd, by cycling fans and by the country’s president at the finish yesterday, Sayar said that he will compete abroad in more stage events in the near future. The Tour of Azerbaijan is thought to be next on his upcoming calendar, with that race beginning in two days’ time.


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