Cyclingnews TV   News  Tech   Features   Road   MTB   BMX   Cyclo-cross   Track    Photos    Fitness    Letters   Search   Forum  

Recently on

Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

 UCI codes explained

8th Tour of Qatar - 2.1

Qatar, February 1-6, 2009

2008 results     Stage List     Preview    Start List     Past winners

The Stages

  • Stage 1 - February 1: Doha - Doha, 6km
  • Stage 2 - February 2: Khalifa Stadium - Al Khor Corniche, 134km
  • Stage 3 - February 3: Al Zubarah - Doha Golf Club, 137.5km
  • Stage 4 - February 4: Doha Old Souq - Madinat Al Shamal, 141km
  • Stage 5 - February 5: Camel Race Track - Qatar Foundation, 147.5km
  • Stage 6 - February 6: Sealine Beach Resort - Doha Corniche, 121km

Sprinters up the revs in the desert

Tom Boonen (Quick Step) taking another one
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

The top sprinters of the peloton head this weekend to the Persian Gulf for the eighth Tour of Qatar to get in a little early season speed, and this year's event should prove to be one of the most hotly contested in the history of the race. With the only elevation in the area provided by the shiny glass skyscrapers and the occasional sand dune or highway overpass the only challenge for the riders, this flat and fast stage race is custom made for the quickest men in cycling.

And when speaking of fast men, two names leap to mind: Mark Cavendish and Tom Boonen. Last year Boonen ruled the roost in Qatar, finishing no lower than fourth place on any stage and waltzing through to the overall win with three stages wins under his belt (four if you include the team time trial). In fact, Boonen has been so dominant in this event that he has won 14 stages in the five years he's come here.

But that streak might end with the presence of the speedy Manx man, Cavendish, who has proven to be virtually unbeatable in bunch sprints over the past year. He will have his lead-out men Marcus Burghardt and Greg Henderson for the sprints and world time trial champion Bert Grabsch to help propel the team to the lead in the opening team time trial.

But the Columbia and Quick Step teams are not the only ones with some time trial engines – the Garmin-Slipstream team will field a powerful squad including Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins, who has been educating his new teammates on just how fast one can ride a flat six-kilometre race.

The time trial, which will be contested on normal road bikes for logistical purposes, should only separate the contenders for the overall by a few seconds, however. The general classification over the remaining stages will most likely be separated by time bonuses for stage finishes, almost all of which should come down to a bunch sprint.

Other speedsters who will be on the hunt for those all important bonuses include Francesco Chicchi, winner of a stage in the Tour Down Under and Katusha's Sicilian bowling ball, Danilo Napolitano.

The only thing that might throw a little sand into the drive train of the sprinters is the strong winds which often whip up across the desert. In 2007, the winds helped a breakaway to stay clear, allowing Boonen's teammate Wilfried Cretskens to slip into the overall win. That scenario could well play out again this year as forecasts call for breezy conditions on the opening days. Look for riders like Mike Friedman (Garmin), Rabobank's Juan Antonio Flecha or Nick Nuyens or any of the BMC riders to ride aggressively in search of a breakaway.

The globalization of cycling has brought top-level competition to all parts of the globe for early season racing, and places with climates more favourable for winter bike racing than Europe have enjoyed an upsurge in competition. From Australia to Argentina to the middle east, cycling's top riders have extended their reach in order to gain fitness and speed so they can be on top of their game come March and the opening Classics. And few places are as well-suited to speed work than Qatar, where riders have averaged up to 55kph on some stages. Let's hope the mechanics packed a few extra 11-tooth cogs!

Start list

Quick Step                              Team Columbia-Highroad
1 Tom Boonen (Bel)                      11 Mark Cavendish (GBr)
2 Steven De Jongh (Ned)                 12 Michael Barry (Can)
3 Kevin Hulsmans (Bel)                  13 Marcus Burghardt (Ger)
4 Sébastien Rosseler (Bel)              14 Bert Grabsch (Ger)
5 Kevin Van Impe (Bel)                  15 Gregory Henderson (NZl)
6 Marco Velo (Ita)                      16 Frantisek Rabon (Cze)
7 Wouter Weylandt (Bel)                 17 Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa)
8 Maarten Wynants (Bel)                 18 Marcel Sieberg (Ger)
Silence - Lotto                         Rabobank
21 Leif Hoste (Bel)                     32 Marc De Maar (Ned)
22 Wilfried Cretskens (Bel)             33 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa)
23 Bart Dockx (Bel)                     34 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned)
24 Sebastian Lang (Ger)                 35 Joost Posthuma (Ned)
25 Jürgen Roelandts (Bel)               36 Tom Stamsnijder (Ned)
26 Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel)              37 Bram Tankink (Ned)
27 Roy Sentjens (Bel)                   38 Maarten Tjallingii (Ned)
28 Johan Van Summeren (Bel)             
Garmin - Slipstream                     Team Katusha
41 Bradley Wiggins (GBr)                51 Filippo Pozzato (Ita)
42 Hans Dekkers (Ned)                   52 Denis Galimzyanov (Rus)
43 Huub Duyn (Ned)                      53 Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus)
44 Michael Friedman (USA)               54 Alexei Markov (Rus)
45 William Frischkorn (USA)             55 Guennadi Mikhailov (Rus)
46 Martijn Maaskant (Ned)               56 Danilo Napolitano (Ita)
47 Kilian Patour (Fra)                  57 Alexander Serov (Rus)
48 Ricardo Van Der Velde (Ned)          58 Ben Swift (GBr)
Doha Team                               Liquigas
61 Rafaa Chitioui (Tun)                 71 Francesco Chicchi (Ita)
62 Badr Banihammad (UAE)                72 Maciej Bodnar (Pol)
63 Farid Belhani (Alg)                  73 Claudio Corioni (Ita)
64 Aymen Ben Hassine (Tun)              74 Gianni Da Ros (Ita)
65 Tareq Esmaeili (Qat)                 75 Murilo Fischer (Bra)
66 Abdelbaset Hannachi (Alg)            76 Daniel Oss (Ita)
67 Omar Hasanin (Syr)                   77 Fabio Sabatini (Ita)
68 Moosa Said (Qat)                     
AG2R La Mondiale                        Team Milram
81 Lloyd Mondory (Fra)                  91 Servais Knaven (Ned)
82 José Luis Arrieta Lujambio (Spa)     92 Robert Förster (Ger)
83 Renaud Dion (Fra)                    93 Thomas Fothen (Ger)
84 Blel Kadri (Fra)                     94 Artur Gajek (Ger)
85 Yuriy Krivtsov (Ukr)                 95 Dominik Roels (Ger)
86 Cédric Pineau (Fra)                  96 Björn Schröder (Ger)
87 Stéphane Poulhies (Fra)              97 Niki Terpstra (Ned)
88 Gatis Smukulis (Lat)                 98 Peter Wrolich (Aut)
Lampre - N.G.C.                         BMC Racing Team
101 Angelo Furlan (Ita)                 111 Markus Zberg (Swi)
102 Marco Bandiera (Ita)                112 Chad Beyer (USA)
103 Mauro Da Dalto (Ita)                113 Brent Bookwalter (USA)
104 Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita)              114 Antonio Cruz (USA)
105 Massimiliano Mori (Ita)             115 Martin Kohler (Swi)
106 Daniele Righi (Ita)                 116 Florian Stalder (Swi)
107 Marcin Sapa (Pol)                   117 Jackson Stewart (USA)
108 Simon Spilak (Slo)                  118 Taylor Tolleson (USA)
Cervélo TestTeam                        Skil-Shimano
121 Andreas Klier (Ger)                 131 Roy Curvers (Ned)
122 Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa)        132 Koen De Kort (Ned)
123 Roger Hammond (GBr)                 133 David Deroo (Fra)
124 Heinrich Haussler (Ger)             134 Mitchell Docker (Aus)
125 Jeremy Hunt (GBr)                   135 Cycril Lemoine (Fra)
126 Daniel Lloyd (GBr)                  136 Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Ned)
127 Gabriel Rasch (Nor)                 137 Tom Veelers (Ned)
128 Martin Reimer (Ger)                 138 Robert Wagner (Ger)
Topsport Vlaanderen                     Drapac Porsche Cycling
141 Kristof Goddaert (Bel)              151 Peter Mc Donald (Aus)
142 Stijn Joseph (Bel)                  152 Daniel Braunsteins (Aus)
143 Stijn Neirynck (Bel)                153 Ashley Humbert (Aus)
144 Maarten Neyens (Bel)                154 Joseph Lewis (Aus)
145 Frederick Nolf (Bel)                155 Rhys Pollock (Aus)
146 Sven Renders (Bel)                  156 Stuart Shaw (Aus)
147 Kristof Vandewalle (Bel)            157 Robbie Williams (Aus)
148 Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel)          158 Dean Windsor (Aus)
Meitan Hompo - GDR                      
161 Miyataka Shimizu (Jpn)              
162 Mickaël Damiens (Fra)               
163 Masaaki Kikuchi (Jpn)               
164 Yasuharu Nakajima (Jpn)             
165 Kazuya Okazaki (Jpn)                
166 Sung Baek Park (Kor)                
167 Guillaume Pont (Fra)                
168 Joon Yong Seo (Kor)                 

Past winners

2008 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step
2007 Wilfried Cretskens (Bel) Quick.Step-Innergetic
2006 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step Innergetic
2005 Lars Michaelsen (Den) Team CSC  
2004 Robert Hunter (RSA) Rabobank
2003 Alberto Loddo (Ita) Lampre
2002 Thorsten Wilhelms (Ger) Team Coast