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Milram heads to the desert

Team Milram will be going short-handed into its second race of the season, the Tour of Qatar, which starts Sunday. A feverish cold is keeping Fabio Sabatini at home, and since the team is also riding the Tour Down Under and some races in South Africa, it couldn't come up with a replacement for the Italian.

Ralf Grabsch was looking forward to his trip to the middle east and the unique attractions of Qatar. "You ride over expensive carpets to the sign-in," he said. "It is good for the body to start with a race like this with its flat, fast stages."

The Tour of Qatar runs over 712.5 km in six stages, from January 27 to February 1.

Milram for Qatar: Volodymyr Diudia (Ukr), Matej Jurco (Svk), Alberto Ongarato (Ita), Marco Velo (Ita), Ralf Grabsch (Ger), Christian Knees (Ger), Niki Terpstra (Ned)