POSTED: May 11th 2012

Baku 2020: Azerbaijan road race boosts bid with 180 high level cyclists

LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications  

May 11 – Baku hosted this week 180 elite level cyclists from 17 countries around the world to launch a nationwide event destined to become an annual race around the country.

The Heydar Aliyev Anniversary Tour of Azerbaijan was named in memory of the late president and revitalizes the sport of cycling and the country’s first ever Olympic cycling contender. Yelena Chalykh qualified for the Women’s Time Trial last September by finishing 13th in the Cycling World Championships in Copenhagen.

Geert Broekhuyzen, one of the race organizers, said, “This is a fascinating trip. The race is not only an elite sporting event, but also has a travel element, allowing you to see some of the most beautiful places of Azerbaijan.”

Indeed the event will attract fans to all areas of the country to follow the race and boost tourism similar to the “Giro d’Italia” and the prestigious and world renown “Tour de France”.

Konul Nurullayeva, bid ceo, added, “Once again, this race – as well as Yelena’s qualification for London 2012 – shows how new sports are gaining huge traction and momentum in Azerbaijan.”

 “In our Application File for the 2020 Bid, we are proposing to build a new permanent velodrome in the White City cluster, on the shore of the Caspian Sea, for track cycling. It will have a 5,000 seat capacity and it will also include BMX facilities.

“Road cycling, which only require temporary facilities, will follow a route throughout the city of Baku, and along the Boulevard that runs along the Caspian shoreline.”

“This fits perfectly with our Bid’s stated aim, which is to offer the Olympic Movement a new, sustainable model of hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games, based on genuine existing and future demand for sports facilities.

“The velodrome is one of only four permanent venues that will be built specifically for the Games – the others being the BMX alongside; a canoe-kayak slalom course and the Baku multi-purpose arena. All four will reflect best practice sustainable design principles and will have a clear legacy brief.”

Baku is contending with its second Olympic bid for the 2020 summer Games and is racing against Doha, Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo. The final vote will take place on September 7th of 2013 in Buenos Aires at the IOC session.

Keywords · Baku 2020 · Konul Nurullayeva · cycling · Heydar Aliyev Anniversary Tour of Azerbaijan

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