Antalya, a city on the southwestern coast of Turkey, is increasingly becoming a prominent destination for cycling enthusiasts. The fifth edition of the Tour Of Antalya, a significant sporting event hosted by the city, is scheduled to take place from February 8th to 11th. The road race, categorized as 2.1 by the International Cycling Union (UCI) in the 2024 calendar, will feature a four-day stage race with the participation of 25 teams and 175 cyclists from 16 different countries, including two World Tour teams.
In its fifth year, the Tour Of Antalya has undergone a transformation, focusing not only on the excitement of cycling races but also on showcasing the unique natural, historical, cultural, and gastronomic values of Antalya. With a revamped race route that weaves through the pages of history, the event aims to contribute to the promotion of Antalya and boost bicycle tourism. Branded as “Tour Of Antalya powered by AKRA,” the cycling race positions Antalya as a ‘Cycling City’ with dream-like bicycle routes nestled within the rich tapestry of history and nature.
Aydın Ayhan Güney, the Director of Tour of Antalya Organization, emphasized the event’s growing significance for Turkey, noting that the collaboration between the public and private sectors has led to its increased global recognition. He highlighted the unique aspect of the organization being managed by local forces, resulting in no financial burden on the state. Güney acknowledged the crucial partnerships with the police, gendarmerie, and municipalities, underscoring the warm support from the Antalya Governorship.
Haluk Özsevim, the Project Director of Tour of Antalya, shared insights into the escalating interest from cycling teams and athletes. He mentioned the remarkable evolution from the initial years, where efforts were invested to attract teams and athletes to Antalya. This year, the race received applications from 80 teams representing 60 countries, showcasing the growing appeal of the event. Özsevim highlighted the contributions of major supporters such as Akra Hotels, Corendon Airlines, Fraport TAV Antalya Airport, and Diana Travel, emphasizing the belief of the tourism industry in bicycle tourism.
The collaboration between the public and private sectors plays a pivotal role in the success of Tour of Antalya, with notable support from entities like the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and the Turkey Tourism Promotion and Development Agency (TGA). Özsevim expressed gratitude for the TGA’s efforts in defining bicycle routes and the Tourism Ministry’s bicycle-friendly hotel project, both of which have significantly contributed to the development of cycling tourism.
In conclusion, Tour of Antalya aims not only to showcase the city’s natural and historical beauty but also to position Antalya and Turkey as prime destinations for cycling enthusiasts. With increasing interest from professional teams and individual cyclists, the event contributes to the nation’s investment in bicycle and sports tourism, demonstrating Turkey’s capacity to host successful international cycling competitions.