By Gregor Brown in Doha, Qatar
Giorgia Bronzini is aiming for a stage win this week in the Ladies' Tour of Qatar, which runs from February 8th to the 10th. The 25-year-old leads Team Italy in the first stage race of the season.
"I hope that in three days I can win at least one stage. Above all, I want to find my way in the sprints against the top sprinters," she said to Cyclingnews.
The race will consist of three stages, all around 100 kilometres long. As with the men's race last week, the Ladies' Tour of Qatar is suited to sprinters who can handle their own in the wind.
"The profile is completely flat; it is the wind that will make the selection. The Dutch teams will have an advantage."
She will face a strong field that includes Noemi Cantele (Bigla), Rochelle Gilmore (Lotto) and Kirsten Wild (Cervélo).
A stage win could put Bronzini in a position to fight for the overall leader's gold jersey. However, she wants the form gained in Qatar to carry her on to a successful Track World Championships.
Bronzini competed in the China and Columbia Track World Cup events and will line up in Copenhagen this February 13 to 15. She is building for the Track World Championships in Poland, March 25 to 29.