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Asian Games kick off in Doha

Fumiyuki Beppu (Discovery Channel)

Fumiyuki Beppu (Discovery Channel) (Image credit: Régis Garnier)

The 2006 Asian Games kicked off today in Doha, Qatar. The cycling competition begins on Sunday with the men's road race, where Discovery Channel rider Fumiyuki Beppu (Japan) will be a favorite. Beppu will face strong competition from the Tour of Thailand winner Li Fuyu (China) and Iranians Ghader Mizbani Iranagh and Hossein Askari.

Beppu's compatriot Miho Oki is one of the favorites for the women's road race on Monday, but will have to battle against 1996 Olympic gold medalist Zulfiya Zabirova (Kazakhstan) for the win.

The Chinese delegation will be looking to ramp up their performance in preparation for the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, and are favored to pick up more than one medal in the track cycling events, which begin on December 9. In the women's sprint, Guo Shuang, bronze medallist at the 2006 elite world track championships is the clear favorite. In the endurance events, Li Wang, the silver medallist at the 2005 Sydney world cup is another potential winner for China.