DOHA, February 7, 2016- Edition 15 of the Tour of Qatar assumes a unique importance with Doha hosting the UCI Road World Championships at the end of the season. The stage race from the 8th to the 12th of February will provide serious indications concerning the chances of Mark Cavendish and Alexander Kristoff.
It is not often a sprinter is a contender for the win on a stage race. Mark Cavendish did it in Qatar in 2013, and he is ready to get his season off to a strong start with a repeat victory in 2016 in the colours of his new team Dimension Data.
Despite increasing challenges in his specialty for the past several years, the British rider hasn’t stopped winning. Accompanied by an all-star squad, with Edvald Boasson-Hagen and his partner in crime from his days at HTC Mark Renshaw, who also triumphed on the Tour of Qatar in 2011, the “Cav” could do it again on a course that suits him favourably.
In the final metres, he will have to battle with other sprint specialists like Sam Bennett, Yauheni Hutarovich, Andrea Guardini and Moreno Hofland. But in Qatar, where the roads are often swept by the wind, the title isn’t always decided on mass sprints.
This added difficulty will work to the advantage of the contenders for the top spots in the spring classics, who once again make the trip to Doha this year. Winner of the Tour of Flanders last year, but also of three stages in Qatar, Alexander Kristoff comes in as Cavendish’s designated rival. In the same regard, Greg van Avermaet might seize the opportunity to demonstrate that he can be a front-runner. It is the same for Lars Boom, who is also aware that his spring season gets underway as well in Qatar.