Turkish Cycling Federation’s int’l ambitions shift into high gear

Türkiye is ramping up its cycling tourism ambitions and setting its sights on Olympic medals in 2028 and 2032, announced Emin Müftüoğlu, President of the Turkish Cycling Federation.

Speaking at the “Sakarya Bike Fest,” organized by the Sakarya Metropolitan Municipality under the patronage of the Turkish Presidency, Müftüoğlu highlighted Sakarya’s pivotal role in Türkiye’s cycling landscape.

“Sakarya is a significant ‘bicycle city,’ known for producing top athletes and hosting major events,” he said.

Notably, Sakarya is the only city in the Balkans recognized by the World Cycling Federation as a “bike-friendly city,” a distinction Müftüoğlu emphasized as vital to the country’s cycling culture and future.

Müftüoğlu stressed the economic benefits of sports tourism, particularly cycling, which has a unique position worldwide.

“In Europe, cycling tourism generates more revenue than cruise tourism. Türkiye aims to achieve $4 billion in the next decade through initiatives by the Culture and Tourism Ministry. The ‘bike-friendly hotel’ concept is growing, with over 50 such hotels in Türkiye, compared to thousands in Spain and Italy,” he said.

He expressed hope for Sakarya to have its own bike-friendly hotels, attracting European visitors for training and stays, thus boosting the local economy.

Highlighting recent successes, Müftüoğlu noted that the Turkish cycling team has produced European champions, runners-up and a world fifth-place finisher since 2011.

“We aim not just to participate in the 2028 and 2032 Olympics but to compete for medals,” he said.

The enthusiasm for granfondos (long-distance cycling races for amateurs) is growing, with expectations of tens of thousands participating in Türkiye.

Müftüoğlu extended gratitude to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for his support.

“The Sakarya Bike Fest and the Presidential Cycling Tour were organized under his patronage. Last year, the historic 100th Anniversary Tour from Sivas was also under his auspices.”

With the inauguration of Türkiye’s first Olympic velodrome in Konya, Müftüoğlu believes the country’s cycling narrative is set for transformation.

“The Olympic indoor velodrome in Konya is a milestone. Training here has already led to significant achievements. We thank President Erdoğan for fostering the cycling culture in Türkiye,” he said.

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