2013 Tour of Qatar

2013 Tour of QatarThe 2013 Tour of Qatar starts tomorrow – Sunday February 3 – with six days of action that sees 18 teams and a total of 144 riders line up. Defending champion Tom Boonen, who has won the event an impressive four times, isn’t amongst the starters due to injury, replaced instead by Mark Cavendish making his début for Omega Pharma-QuickStep (just as he did for Team Sky at the start of the 2012 season). Cavendish is one of six British riders taking part, the others being Adam Blythe (BMC Racing), Russell Downing (NetApp-Endura) and the Team Sky trio of Luke Rowe, Ian Stannard and Geraint Thomas. For his part Cavendish will be hoping for better fortune than last year when a heavy crash on the final day’s sprint ended his contention.


This year’s Tour of Qatar will total 732.5km of cycling consisting of the following stages:


Stage 1 (Feb 3) Katara Cultural Village – Dukhan Beach, 145km

Stage 2 (Feb 4) Al Rufaa Street – Al Rufaa Street, 14km Team Time Trial

Stage 3 (Feb 5) Al Wakra – Mesaieed, 143km

Stage 4 (Feb 6) Camel Race Track – Al Khor Corniche, 160km

Stage 5 (Feb 7) Al Zubara Fort to Madinat Al Shamal, 154km

Stage 6 (Feb 8) Sealine Beach Resort – Doha Corniche, 116km


Further details and results on the official website



Boonen Takes Flanders

Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s Tom Boonen yesterday took his third win at the Ronde van Vlaanderen (popularly known as the Tour of Flanders). Following on from victories in both 2005 and 2006 and capitalising on an excellent year so far, the Belgium held off Filippo Pozzato (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia) and BMC’s Alessandro Ballan, by a bike-length to win the sprint finish.


Meanwhile in the women’s edition of the cobbled classic Lizzie Armistead’s pre-race optimism quickly evaporated after an ill-advised and ultimately disastrous attempt to attack resulted in a finishing place of 34, something the GB star was quick to admit was down to he inexperience on the course. Some consolation for Armistead in that she beat rival Brit Emma Pooley, all be it by a single spot. The women’s edition was won by Germany’s Judith Arndt.



Qatar Heroes

Stage 2, the 11.3-kilometre Team Time-Trial, of the Tour of Qatar was won yesterday (February 6) by Garmin-Barracuda which saw their riders rise up the general classifications despite three-time winner Tom Boonen of Omega Pharma-Quick Step continuing to hold top spot. Boonen, the winner of Stage 1 – the 141.5 km route from Barzan Towers to the College of the North Atlantic – retained the leader’s Golden Jersey although Garmin-Cervélo’s Tyler Farrar now holds a spot-on identical time for second place. The Tour of Qatar continues today with the Dukhan to Al Gharafa Stadium 146.5 km route and concludes on February 10.