The organisers of the Tour of Qatar have confirmed that many of the world's best sprinters will clash in the expected sprint finishes at the 2015 Tour of Qatar held from February 8 to 13.
Marcel Kittel (Giant-Alpecin), Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo), Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) and Arnaud Démare (FDJ) have all been entered for the race by their teams, with Andrea Guardini (Astana), Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida), Adam Blythe (Orica-GreenEdge), Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff-Saxo), Sam Bennett (Bora-Argon 18) and Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling) also listed according to ASO, who organises the race with Eddy Merckx.
The new-look MTN-Qhubeka team will also be looking to get into the results with the likes of Tyler Farrar, Theo Bos and Matt Goss expected to line up alongside the 2013 Milan-San Remo winner Gerald Ciolek.
The women's Tour of Qatar will be precede the men's race between February 3-6.
ASO announced in November that a total of 18 teams will ride the five-day race. The teams are Orica-GreenEdge, Etiology-QuickStep, Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise, Cofidis, FDJ.fr, Bora-Argon 18, Sky Pro Cycling, Bardiani CSF, Lampre-Merida, Astana, Giant-Alpecin, Katusha, Tinkoff-Saxo, MTN-Qhubeka, Movistar, IAM Cycling, BMC Racing Team and Trek Factory Racing. The same teams will ride the hillier Tour of Oman (February 17-22).
Tom Boonen is set to return to Qatar for his early-season racing as leader of the Etixx-QuickStep team. The Belgian hasn’t missed a single edition of the Tour of Qatar since 2004 and holds the record of stage wins after taking a 22nd victory in Messaied last year. He also won the race overall four times, in 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2012.
The Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman will be vital early racing for many of the riders targeting the Spring Classics. ASO also list defending champion and Paris-Roubaix winner Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quick Step), Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), Lars Boom (Astana), Philippe Gilbert and Greg van Avermaet (BMC), Ian Stannard (Sky) and Matti Breschel (Tinkoff-Saxo) as entered for the race in the Gulf state.
Somewhat surprisingly, Alejandro Valverde will also ride the Tour of Qatar, making his debut in the race in what will be his 13th season as a professional.