UCI awards 2016 World road championships to Doha, Qatar
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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

UCI awards 2016 World road championships to Doha, Qatar

by Ben Atkins at 2:14 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, World Championships
 
Race to be held in Middle East for first time in sprinters’ paradise; 2014 Spanish Worlds under threat

dohaThe International Cycling Union (UCI) Management Committee, meeting in Maastricht, Netherlands, during the World road championships, has awarded the 2016 Worlds to the city of Doha, Qatar. This will be the first time in the event’s history that it will have been held in the Middle East and, although Qatar has no riders in the sport’s upper echelons, it does play host to one of the most hotly contested stage races of the early season.

“The management of the Qatar candidature presented an extremely interesting project which incorporated innovative solutions which allowed for the designing of a technically interesting course, we are greatly looking forward to working with them,” said Philippe Chevallier, UCI Sport and Technical Director, in a statement.

With very little in the way of topography on the peninsular of Qatar, the Tour of Qatar usually takes the form of a sprinters’ festival, with most stages finishing in bunch gallops. Jutting out into the Persian Gulf as it does however, the country is often crossed by strong winds, which has seen the race dominated by the powerful Belgian and Dutch teams. The record overall and stage winner in the race is Classics king Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), who has long used the event as warm weather preparation for his favourite races back home.

Since 2009 the race - which is run by Tour de France organiser ASO - has also included a women's version.

Sprinters are rarely given World championships courses that suit them so well; Great Britain’s Mark Cavendish won last year’s event in Copenhagen, while the great Italian Mario Cipollini took gold in Zolder, Belgium back in 2002. 2016 looks tailor made for the fast men of the peloton once more.

On less optimistic news, the European financial crisis is causing problems for the organisers of the 2014 World championships, which are set to be held in Ponferrada, Spain. The UCI has granted then 30 days to “meet contractual commitments, after which time if these had not been met the event would be withdrawn from them.”

The 2013 World championships will be held in Florence, Italy, while the 2015 event is set to take place in Richmond, Virginia, with the races being held in the United States for only the second time.

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