Jerusalem - September 18th. Israel Cycling Academy has Signed Turkish TT champion Ahmet Orken to a two years contract, adding another National champion to the team that is already the most international diversified team in the world of Pro cycling.
“ We signed Ahmet first and foremost because he possesses a great talent waiting to flourish” said Team manager ran Margaliot. “ But we are also extra proud of having him join his Israeli teammates in their quest to make history together and reach a Grand Tour for the first time ever for both Countries. Is there better example how sports can change the world around us and bring people together ? We feel this team have obligations far beyond cycling”.
Orken, the 4 times TT champion and maybe one of the most promising riders coming out of Turkey in recent years was equally excited : “ I waited for a chance to ride for a a successful Pro team that is on the move and I am sure that with ICA I can make my dreams come true. My biggest motivation Joining this team was the chance to win races but I also strongly believe that it also a great chance to contribute to peace and brotherhood “.
The Turkish TT champion that will race with the Turkish flag adorning his Israeli Cycling Academy outfit has stressed that at no time has he hesitated joining ICA due to the fact that Israel and Turkey has hit some troubled water in their relations lately : “ Joining a Israeli team has never crossed my mind as being a problem what’s so ever. On the contrary. Every one around me have supported my decision with great enthusiasm “ ! (The Turkish Ambassador to Israel was among the first people to congratulate the Team on adding his National TT champion and expressed his desires that it will help further build human bridges)
Indeed, ICA is a clear example for being a melting pot. Next year it is going to have riders from Israel and 16 other nations. It’s also one of the Youngest, with 14 under 25 riders, a sign of a policy nourishing young talents.
But it seems signing the Turkish champion might be the most striking both professionally and symbolically . “ We were following him for a very long time” revealed Margaliot. “ Actually, I first saw him in 2009 when he was only 16 and already one the European championship Track points race, the very first time he entered. He showed a mentality of a winner and that has never changed since then”.
Well, the wins column did change dramatically. In 2011 he won the “ Ominum” , and declared the European youth champion, the first time a Turkish rider ever won it. Later he developed his TT skills and since 2014 totally dominated the local scene, winning the National Championship 4 years in a row. He has stayed with his “ Who Torku Sugar Bicycle” team - “ The best in Turkey” - since 2008 and won numerous UCI races, including 3 stages at the Tour of Qinghai Lake in China this season.
“ He showed that he is a consistent winner in selective sprints even with out big support” said Margaliot. “ We believe that with us he can fulfil his full potential and with proper lead out can
get many more wins in bigger races. Having been a great TT performer plus his ability to “read” a race brilliantly, I think he will prove to be a great force”.
Ahmet was born in Konya City and took on cycling when he was six years old . When started racing at 14 and in his first year already accumulated 12 podiums. “ I really want to ride the Giro” he said. “ No turkish rider has ever done that. Cycling in Turkey has developed rapidly in the last few years and now I want achieve my dream with ICA”.
Comments will be approved before showing up.