Bob Jungels, Marcel Kittel, Yves Lampaert, Tony Martin, Niki Terpstra and Julien Vermote will tackle the 40km flat-but-technical course on Sunday. Lukasz Wisniowski will be the team’s reserve rider.
"We arrived here with seven riders, because all of them were in good condition and you never know when one gets sick and you need another one to replace him,” said director Tom Steels. “Following our training sessions of Friday and today, we came to a decision and picked six guys.”
Since the UCI reintroduced the discipline in 2012, Etixx-QuickStep has won the world title twice, beating BMC by three seconds in 2012 and Orica by just one second in 2013. The team slipped to third in 2014, finishing 36 seconds behind BMC and four seconds behind Orica.
Etixx-QuickStep finished second last year in Richmond, 12 seconds behind repeat champions BMC. Martin, Terpstra and Lampaert return from that squad.
“With the addition of Bob, Julien and Marcel, who put in an impressive ride recently in both the individual and team time trial at the Eneco Tour, we can count on a solid and experienced group,” Steels said, adding that the riders and support staff will have to pay special attention to the expected heat and winds.
“You are expecting [the wind] to come from one direction, but it surprises you by coming from a different one, so it's very important to guide the riders in these situations,” he said.
The course in Doha starts at the Lusail Sports Complex, where riders will face 14 corners – some of them 180 degrees, before a long, straight stretch to The Pearl in downtown Doha, where they will tackle another series of technical turns before the finish.
“The corners are another tricky part of the race, but we worked on it and we are confident, while the final part will be all about strength and power,” Steels said. “There's no secret that we are setting off with the goal of taking the victory, but I can easily think of several other teams who have the same thought in mind, so it ain't going to be a walk in the park."
Etixx-QuickStep for team time trial: Bob Jungels, Marcel Kittel, Yves Lampaert, Tony Martin, Niki Terpstra and Julien Vermote