Tour of Qatar 2014
While the Omega Pharma-Quickstep team comes to the Tour of Qatar with past champion Tom Boonen - the inclusion of a 10.9km individual time trial on the Lusail Moto GP circuit could tip the balance of the race away from the sprinters.
While the sprinters like Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol), Leigh Howard (Orica-GreenEdge), Jacopo Guarnieri (Astana), Elia Viviani (Cannondale), Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff Saxo), Heinrich Haussler (IAM Cycling) and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) will have five stages to fight for victory, the overall will likely fall into the hands of time trial specialists like Fabian Cancellara (Trek) and Svein Tuft (Orica-GreenEdge.
The fierce crosswinds and unrelenting heat is always a factor in Qatar, so any advantage gained in the time trial will need to be guarded heavily against splits and crashes.
The 19 participating teams
Ag2r La Mondiale (FRA), Astana Pro Team (KAZ), Bardiani CSF (ITA), Belkin – Pro Cycling Team (NED), BMC Racing Team (USA), Cannondale Pro Cycling (ITA), FDJ.fr (FRA), IAM Cycling (SUI), Katusha Team (RUS), Lotto Belisol (BEL), Omega Pharma – Quick Step Cycling Team (BEL), Orica-GreenEDGE (AUS), Skydive Dubai (UAE), Team NetApp – Endura (GER), Team Sky (GBR), Tinkoff Saxo (DEN), Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise (BEL), Trek Factory Racing (USA),UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team (USA)