Team BMC is going to the Tour of Qatar next week and they're not taking it for granted. After recent training camps in California, the team will head along with 16 other teams to the Middle East for a six-day stage race over 450 miles on relatively flat terrain.
"It's a big deal that we were invited. It's not easy to go," said Gavin Chilcott, director of BMC to the Marin Indepedent Journal.
The race is an opportunity for sprinters to prove their early season form and BMC's Stewart is no exception. "From what I hear from the race stand point, they are very fast, not too long, flat, windy races," Stewart said. "You just go in a straight line for miles."
Stewart will be up against some of the best sprinters in the European peloton. "(Belgium's) Tom Boonen is the fastest man alive and he's going to be there. They're just being tuned up now, too. So that they're not in full form, but, still, a 60-percent Tom Boonen is a challenge to beat."
Chilcott is looking at it as a chance to demonstrate his team's importance to the world of cycling. The team is in its second full season of racing and is still working on establishing itself.