Belgian Tom Boonen is anxious to get the 2010 season underway, and will do so in just a few days when the Tour of Qatar begins in Doha on February 7. The Quick Step man has won the overall in Qatar three times, and his team has taken the win in the past four editions, making them the undisputed favourites.
The eight riders set to take on the Tour of Qatar will depart from Paris and fly to Doha tomorrow along with director Wilfried Peeters.
"We've won this race in the last 4 years, so it's really hard to do any better than we have," said Peeters. "The initial goal is to win at least one stage and to try to be major players every day. Furthermore this year we will participate in the Tour of Oman as well, immediately after Qatar. These two races will represent a good preparation as we look forward to the first weekend of races in Belgium at the end of February - Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne."
Last year Boonen won just one stage in Qatar, but claimed the overall thanks to his consistent performances. In fact, Boonen is the most consistent rider in the history of the Tour of Qatar, having won a total of 15 stages in his career.
"I can't wait to compete," said Boonen. "This type of race represents an important test to measure your level of preparation and the work undertaken throughout the winter. As always we're going to have to be very attentive to the unexpected changes in the direction of the wind. It will be important to always stay in the first positions of the group in order to avoid any surprises. Our team is competitive and motivated. We're ready."
Quick Step for Tour of Qatar: Tom Boonen, Kevin De Weert, Kevin Huslmans, Andreas Stauff, Matteo Tosatto, Kevin Van Impe, Marco Velo, Maarten Wynants
Quick Step for Tour of Oman: Tom Boonen, Kevin De Weert, Kevin Hulsmans, Andreas Stauff, Matteo Tosatto, Jurgen Van De Walle, Marco Velo, Maarten Wynants
D.S.: Wilfried Peeters