Wild returns to Ladies Tour of Qatar

After a year away from the Ladies Tour of Qatar, Dutch rider Kirsten Wild (Hitec Products) will return to attempt a record fifth title in the early season race. She'll be up against perennial podium finisher Chloe Hosking, who comes with a reinforced Wiggle-High5 team - with new recruit Emma Johansson and the talented Italian Elisa Longo Borghini at her side.

Also in the mix is former race winner Ellen van Dijk - the only rider confirmed for Boels Dolmans. It remains to be seen whether new world champion Lizzie Armitstead will defend her title in the race. Race organisers only confirmed 15 of the top riders for the UCI 2.1 ranked stage race that begins on February 2. The list includes a slew of top riders, with former world champion Lisa Brennauer, Trixi Worrack and Tiffany Cromwell heading up the new Canyon-SRAM team.

American Shelley Olds will be joined by Valentina Scandolara in the new Cylance team's debut in the race. Canadian Leah Kirchmann will begin the season in her new Liv Plantur team, while Giro Rosa winner Annemiek van Vleuten debuts with Gracie Elvin for Orica-AIS.

The Ladies Tour of Qatar begins with a preview of the World Championship course in Doha, with a tricky 97km route that could shatter the peloton with the ever present crosswinds.

Stage 2 is a 120km dash from the Sheikh Faisal Museum to the Al Khor Corniche. The third stage heads out from the Al Zubarah fort to Madinat Al Shamal, with the final stage a short but intense 73km stage that concludes with 12 laps of a 6km circuit on the Doha Corniche.

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