2012 Tour of Qatar Preview
The 11th staging of the Tour of Qatar is almost upon us and promises to be the most exciting edition yet. Olympic years always take on extra significance and the road to the grand tours and the London 2012 Games continues right here in the oil-rich desert state on the banks of the Persian Gulf. Sixteen teams will take up the challenge in what are predicted to be warm and sunny conditions.
With almost completely flat terrain, the race is suited to sprinters – and a look at the list of past GC winners, along with an examination of this year’s entrants, backs up that theory. Belgian sprinter Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma - QuickStep) is returning to bid for a fourth gold jersey as the overall winner, after winning in 2006, 2008 and 2009; Australia’s defending champion Mark Renshaw (Rabobank) is back to try and retain his title; Great Britain’s Mark Cavendish, widely recognised as the best sprinter in the world, makes his seasonal bow and debut for Team Sky; and Germany’s Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol), winner of half of the stages at the Tour Down Under earlier this month, also makes the trip to the Gulf.