The 2017 Tour of Qatar and the Ladies Tour of Qatar have been cancelled due to a lack of funding, the UCI has announced.
The race was marked for the lack of crowds cheering on the race and its minimal scenery. However, the crosswinds of the Qatari desert often provided some exciting racing and gave sprinters a chance to perfect their form ahead of the Classics.
The men’s Tour of Qatar had only recently been promoted to WorldTour level for the 2017 season, along with nine other races. Cancellation is a blow to the UCI’s development into the Middle East and comes just over two months after Qatar held the World Championships.
The cancellation of the 2017 race leaves a gap in the men's race calendar between the Dubai Tour (January 31 to February 4) and the Tour of Oman (February 14 to 17).
“The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has today received notice of the cancellation of both the Tour of Qatar and Ladies Tour of Qatar. It is understood the decision follows difficulty attracting sponsor financial support,” a statement said on the UCI website.
The Tour of Qatar is the longest standing of the races in the Middle East and is organised in conjunction with Tour de France organiser ASO. It began in 2002 with Thorsten Wilhelms winning the inaugural edition. Other champions include Tom Boonen, Mark Cavendish and Niki Terpstra.
The Ladies Tour of Qatar was inaugurated seven years after the men’s event with Kirsten Wild taking home the title ahead of Giorgia Bronzini. The Dutch woman won three further titles but it was Trixi Worrack who would win this year’s final event.