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BIKE AID from China to Turkey

The Saarland professional cycling team BIKE AID regularly reports impressive experiences and sporting successes from its journeys. They are just back from China and will soon set off back to Turkey.

Since the establishment of the professional team in 2014, the “somewhat different” UCI Continental Team from Saarland has been pursuing its mission, in keeping with the name of the team category, to travel the continents and to make the fascination of cycling accessible to as many people as possible while promoting intercultural exchange.

China has been a regular travel destination for the BIKE AID team since the beginning. Six times in a row, until 2019, they participated in the Tour of Qinghai Lake, the largest cycling race in Asia, often also called “Asia’s Tour de France”. Now they have been invited to the Tour of Poyang Lake, following the travel restrictions throughout the pandemic. The Saarland cyclists will take part in two tours over eleven days, from 8 to 19 September 2023. One UCI tour over five days and a national tour over six days, together forming the Tour of Poyang Lake 2023.

From a sporting point of view it did not go so well on the first part of the tour. First the team had to find their way around in China. It was the first trip to China ever for some of the team members. The trip was a challenge, particularly for young athletes like Jonas Beck. This 18-year-old trainee from the BIKE AID Development Team only recently graduated from high school and has entered professional cycling at full throttle. Having just competed in the 10-day Volta Portugal, he was immediately invited to continue on his great journey to China.

Sporting director Anton Wiersma told us: “For us, everything was new on site, you don’t understand the signs at the hotel buffet and when you ask for directions in English on the street, you are met by smiling faces. We were in towns far away from tourism, where a foreigner rarely strays. So whilst you were an exotic figure on the street, you felt welcome wherever you went.”

The second part of the tour went significantly better for the team. On the fourth stage there was a team time trial, which BIKE AID finished in second place. This laid the foundation for the overall result later. Dawit Yemane was impressive, especially in the mountains, and in the end was only 15 seconds short of overall victory. But second place in the individual classification was a gratifying result too and, in addition, this professional cyclist from Eritrea won the mountains jersey.

The emotional highlight was, of course, the victory in the team classification. This was the result of an extraordinary performance by every single rider, and was celebrated euphorically by the entire team.

However, to measure the success of such a trip only in terms of sporting results would not do it justice.

“The impressions and interactions on the ground have confirmed to us again and again that it is the right thing to do to go there and see the country and its people for ourselves. We take away so much from the hospitality of the people, but also from the enthusiasm for cycling when you see the sometimes unbelievable crowds of spectators along the route. Above all, it is inspiring to see the kind of positive energy and effort with which sporting events are organised there,” says Matthias Schnapka, co-founder of the professional team.

The Presidential Cycling Tour of Türkiye 2023 in October

The next opportunity for impressive experiences and top sporting performances is coming soon. BIKE AID will be back at the start of the Presidential Cycling Tour of Türkiye from 8 to 15 October 2023!

After a historic performance by Dawit Yemane in the high mountains at the 2022 edition and an overall impressive race by the whole team, BIKE AID will be competing in Turkey’s biggest cycling event for the second time. Over the course of eight stages, the boys will once again compete against world-renowned names from the UCI World Teams and the UCI Pro Teams. A seventh place overall for Dawit Yemane and the second place in the team ranking from last year are motivating memories and an incentive for the newly formed team to start the journey to Turkey.

We wish the entire BIKE AID team further amazing experiences and top results on their upcoming stops on the continental tour. 

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