Skip to main content

Gallery: Behind the scenes at Tour of Qatar

Image 1 of 21

Kiel Reijnan (UnitedHealthcare) shows how difficult the racing can be in Qatar.

Kiel Reijnan (UnitedHealthcare) shows how difficult the racing can be in Qatar.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
Image 2 of 21

Local truck drivers were brought in to help transport bikes to the stage starts and finishes.

Local truck drivers were brought in to help transport bikes to the stage starts and finishes.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
Image 3 of 21

Alessandro Bazzana (UnitedHealthcare) shows some wear after stage 1.

Alessandro Bazzana (UnitedHealthcare) shows some wear after stage 1.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
Image 4 of 21

John Murphy (UnitedHealthcare) hit the deck coming into the stage 1 finish.

John Murphy (UnitedHealthcare) hit the deck coming into the stage 1 finish.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
Image 5 of 21

Stage 1 finished along the beaches of Dukhan.

Stage 1 finished along the beaches of Dukhan.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
Image 6 of 21

Camels greeted riders as stage 2 began at one of Qatars famous camel race tracks.

Camels greeted riders as stage 2 began at one of Qatars famous camel race tracks.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
Image 7 of 21

Locals wait for the start of stage 2 in Qatar.

Locals wait for the start of stage 2 in Qatar.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
Image 8 of 21

Sky riders pose with one of the organizers of the race.

Sky riders pose with one of the organizers of the race.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
Image 9 of 21

The peloton races down one of Qatars main highways.

The peloton races down one of Qatars main highways.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
Image 10 of 21

Omega Pharma leads in the sprint for the win on stage 2.

Omega Pharma leads in the sprint for the win on stage 2.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
Image 11 of 21

Chris Jones (UnitedHealthcare) before the start of stage 1.

Chris Jones (UnitedHealthcare) before the start of stage 1.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
Image 12 of 21

The race caravan rolls through downtown Doha.

The race caravan rolls through downtown Doha.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
Image 13 of 21

Each team is issued a truck to use as a vehicle in the race.

Each team is issued a truck to use as a vehicle in the race.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
Image 14 of 21

Locals hunkered down for the windy stage 1 start.

Locals hunkered down for the windy stage 1 start.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
Image 15 of 21

Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) warms up with teammate and GC leader Niki Terpstra.

Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) warms up with teammate and GC leader Niki Terpstra.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
Image 16 of 21

Bernard Eisel (Sky) on the way to the finish.

Bernard Eisel (Sky) on the way to the finish.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
Image 17 of 21

The peloton on the highway to the stage 1 finish in Dukhan.

The peloton on the highway to the stage 1 finish in Dukhan.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
Image 18 of 21

Andre Greipel (Lotto) gets interviewed before the start of racing.

Andre Greipel (Lotto) gets interviewed before the start of racing.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
Image 19 of 21

Fans begin to gather for the start of the stage 3 TT.

Fans begin to gather for the start of the stage 3 TT.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
Image 20 of 21

Andre Greipel (Lotto) headed to the TT start house.

Andre Greipel (Lotto) headed to the TT start house.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
Image 21 of 21

A rider heads back into the team tents in Qatar.

A rider heads back into the team tents in Qatar.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)

The Tour of Qatar. On the surface, it's a nice, warm early season race on flat roads with relatively short stages. It is a perfect way to tune up for the Spring Classics, to get some speed in the legs, to get in the rhythm of racing. Peek behind the curtain, as Cyclingnews photographer Jonathan Devich has done, and a different story emerges.

Behind the Omega Pharma-QuickStep, Sky and Lotto-Belisol trains amassing at the front, there are the unfortunates: the rookie riders, those who might be unfamiliar with the furious pace of cross-wind racing, riders who are trying to find form after illness or injury or foul-weather winters. Get too far back from the streamlined front of the peloton and the washing machine of the mid-pack chaos can chew a rider up and spit him out, on the ground - hard.

All of this takes place in front of a society that is familiar with the race, but still not quite buying into it en masse. The result is miles and miles of endless highway, peppered only by rocks and sand dunes until the race hurtles back toward the gleaming, mirrored glass of the big city.