Israeli cyclists not welcome (archives)
Photo: Yitzhak Krispel

Israelis banned from Turkish race

Tel Aviv cyclists asked to leave Tour of Isparta 2011 after Syrian, Iraqi teams threaten to withdraw from competition

A group of Israeli cyclists was banned last weekend from the 2011 Cycling Tour of Isparta in Turkey, after the Syrian and Iraqi teams threatened to withdraw from the competition.


The Turkish cycling association is organizing this year a series of international tours to promote its cyclists in Europe and win a ticket to the Olympic Games.


Israel participated in the first tour, the Cycling Tour of Turkey, but the Syrian team avoided facing the Israelis and the Iraqi team withdrew after the first stage, after learning of the Israeli participation.


Israeli cyclists (Archive photo: Yaron Brener)


"I introduced myself to the heads of the Syrian and Iraqi teams and wished them luck, and they returned the gesture, although at the first stage of the tour we discovered that the Syrians would not be competing in the race," recounted the team's coach, Nimrod Dubinski.


"The Iraqis did compete, and several minutes earlier we even posed for pictures with them and disclosed the origin of Roy Kapach and Eliad Daniel. The atmosphere was pleasant and informal."


Ahead of the second tour, which began on May 24, the race's manager and deputy chairman of the Turkish association informed Dubinski that the Israeli cyclists would not be able to take part in the competition as the Syrian and Iraqi teams refused to participate alongside the Israeli club.


Israelis leave after Syrian, Iraqi threats (Archive photo: Ron Shellef)


"He told us that he considered the Syrian and Iraqi conditions unacceptable and that he would not mix politics with sports," Dubinski added.


"Nonetheless, he said there was a problem with our participation in the second tour. As the Syrians and Iraqis won't compete against us, there is an insufficient number of international teams for the tour to be recognized by the International Cycling Union (UCI).


"In addition, in light of the warm relations between Turkey and Syria and Iraq, he was ordered by the Foreign Ministry to solve the problem in favor of the Turkish interest."


Despite attempts to reach a compromise, no change was made in the following 24 hours and the Israeli team was forced to return to Israel. The Israel Cycling Federation plans to file a complaint with the UCI.



פרסום ראשון: 06.04.11, 10:24
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