Peter Sagan will make his official debut with the Tinkoff-Saxo squad at the upcoming Tour of Qatar from February 8-13. The Slovakian sprinter will be backed by an eight-man team as he pursues his first wins of the 2015 season.
“I raced in Qatar four years ago and that was the start of a great season,” Sagan said. “I think it's the right race for my official start in the Tinkoff-Saxo jersey. I look forward to start racing there.”
The Tour of Qatar is regarded as a sprinter's race with six flat stages, one of which is a short 10.9km time trial. Last year, Niki Terpstra won the opening stage and the overall title, while his Omega-Pharma QuickStep teammate Tom Boonen won two stages, Orica’s Michael Hepburn won the time trial, and Lotto’s André Greipel and FDJ’s Arnaud Démare won the last two stages.
Sagan will be looking for stage wins and will have the support from his teammates Maciej Bodnar, Matti Breschel, Michael Mørkøv, Pavel Brutt, Christopher Juul-Jensen, Ivan Rovny and Nikolay Trusov.
“Peter Sagan is our team leader and we’ll support him 100 per cent,” said the team’s director Tristan Hoffman. “Tour of Qatar is a special race for him and the team as it marks his debut for Tinkoff-Saxo.
“Looking at our squad, I think we have a strong lead-out if a stage turns into a classic sprinter’s duel. All the guys are capable of setting a very high pace. We got a very strong team also taking into account the seriousness with which the guys have prepared. No doubt that Peter has a good chance in the fight for stage wins and the 10km time trial also makes the GC quite interesting for us.”
Hoffman said the team will be looking to two-time Polish time trial champion Maciej Bodnar and Danish rider Matti Breschel for the stage 3 time trial on the Lusail Circuit.
“Of course, Peter Sagan does a great time trial. But we need to keep our opportunities open,” Hoffman said. “We’ll keep Breschel and Bodnar in a protective role for the first stages and see how everything plays out at the time trial.”