Two more teams, BMC and AG2R La Mondiale, announced their line-ups for the Tour of Qatar from February 1 to 6.
Fresh off training camp, BMC is sending an eight-man squad. "Our goal will be the same for Qatar as it will be for every race we do this year: get results," said Directeur Sportif John Lelangue in no uncertain terms.
"This year is a year of confirmation for us, so we will be looking for at least a top 10 in every stage and in the GC as well." Having beefed up the team in general, Lelangue believes it will have every possibility of living up to their high expectations in Qatar. "We have a stronger group this year, with four very good sprinters to fight in the mass sprints."
Along with Martin Kohler and Tony Cruz, all of whom are returning members of the team, BMC has added current Swiss National Champion and strong sprinter, Markus Zberg to the mix. "Markus has a great kick and a ton of experience so we are certain that he will be able to make a huge contribution," Lelangue said. The fast and dangerous Qatar race will be chalked full of top sprinters. "Though the competition will be very strong with racers like Boonen, Cavendish and Pozzato present, we are confident that the work the guys have done individually combined with the training we had at camp in California will keep us well placed to fight for victories."
After a strong performance at the Tour Down Under, AG2R-La Mondiale is also heading to Qatar. The team, directed by Gilles Mas, has its sights set on its first victory of 2009.
BMC for Tour of Qatar: Florian Stalder, Jackson Stewart, Martin Kohler, Taylor Tolleson, Markus Zberg, Chad Bayer, Brent Bookwalter, Tony Cruz
AG2R-La Mondiale for Tour of Qatar: José Luis Arrieta, Renaud Dion, Kadri Blel, Lloyd Mondory, Cédric Pineau, Stéphane Poulhies, Yuriy Krivtsov and Gatis Smukulis
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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).
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