Turkish president swaps limo for bicycle

Abdullah Gul’s showing at the event seemed to go against speculation of his reportedly ailing health

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Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul on Friday briefly swapped his limousine for a bicycle in order to promote a long-standing cross-country cycling event.

After a 1.7 kilometer ride around the hilly grounds of the capital Ankara’s Cankaya Presidential Palace – accompanied by a group of cycling officials and journalists appearing to follow tactfully behind – Gul said he found the trip fairly difficult.

“The route had ups and downs, it was not easy at all,” he said, according to Turkish daily Hurriyet.

“Cycling is a way of life in developed countries. People go to their jobs on bikes, no matter what their positions or names are. It is also a highly recommended sport for health. So I hope that this [event] promotes [the sport of cycling],” he added.

Gul’s outing was to promote this year’s 50th iteration of the Presidential Tour of Cycling, or Tour of Turkey, which will see twenty-one teams and 168 riders compete in August.

His showing on Friday seemed to go against speculation of his reportedly ailing health, Istanbul-based newspaper Today’s Zaman reported, adding that the president “looked fit” ahead of presidential elections – also scheduled to take place in August.

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