Just four out of the 18 WorldTour teams will be taking part in the 2017 Presidential Tour of Turkey, starting on Tuesday.
The Tour of Turkey was elevated to top-tier WorldTour status by governing body UCI for 2017, but has suffered problems in attracting the top teams.
Only Bora-Hansgrohe, Astana, Trek-Segafredo and UAE Team Emirates will line up among the 13 squads taking part in the race over October 10-15.
Newly-appointed WorldTour races for 2017 were supposed to attract a minimum of 10 top-level teams rather than the compulsory participation of all 18 squads. However, organisers of the Tour of Turkey have struggled to reach this number.
The race was originally intended to take place in April, but lack of interest from teams saw it pushed back to October after just one WorldTour squad reportedly signed up. However, the date change appears to have done little to attract significantly more teams.
Reports suggest that several teams are unwilling to travel to Turkey given the region’s political unrest in recent years. Quick-Step Floors’ team manager Patrick Lefevre said in February that none of his riders wanted to take part.
The Tour of Turkey appears on the 2018 UCI WorldTour calendar, again given an October slot. If the race fails to attract the minimum of 10 WorldTour teams for a second consecutive year it risks losing its WorldTour status.
Portuguese rider José Gonçalves won the 2016 Tour of Turkey, but will not be present after he switched teams from Caja Rural to Katusha-Alpecin for 2017. Katusha are among the WorldTour teams not taking part.
Last year’s runner-up, David Arroyo (Caja Rural Seguros RGA) is riding, and will come up against Leopold König (Bora-Hansgrohe), Jarlinson Pantano (Trek-Segafredo), Darwin Atapuma (UAE Team Emirates) and Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates).
Irishman Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) heads up the list of sprinters.
2017 Presidential Tour of Turkey team list
UAE Team Emirates (WorldTour)
Androni Sidermec Bottechia (Professional Continental)
Bardiani CSF (Professional Continental)
Caja Rural-Seguros RGA (Professional Continental)
CCC Sprandi Polkowice (Professional Continental)
Gazprom-Rusvelo (Professional Continental)
Soul Brasil Pro Cycling Team (Professional Continental)
WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect (Professional Continental)
Wilier Triestinia-Selle Italia (Professional Continental)
Turkish National Team