Ladies’ Tour of Qatar confirms fourth day for 2013
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Monday, January 7, 2013

Ladies’ Tour of Qatar confirms fourth day for 2013

by Ben Atkins at 9:04 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Qatar
Earlier start for Middle Eastern season opener

Tour of QatarRace organiser ASO has confirmed that the 2013 edition of the Ladies’ Tour of Qatar will be four stages long, one more than the four previous editions. The stage race, which opens the women’s season in the northern hemisphere criss-crosses the Arab peninsular country and, like the equivalent men’s race, offers tough windy stages to riders preparing for the Spring Classics.

With the men’s Tour of Qatar starting on February 5th, the extra day on the women’s race will be tacked on at the beginning, meaning that it will start on January 29th, instead of the 30th as originally scheduled.

With very little topography on the Qatari peninsular, the route features no climbing whatsoever, and the crosswinds that dominate the desert roads make it an ideal event for the sprinters and the more powerful riders. The first two editions - in 2009 and 2010 - were won by Dutch sprinter Kirsten Wild, who will be among the favourites for a third title as she returns with her new Argos-Shimano team.

Unlike the men’s race, however, the shorter distances, and the more aggressive style of the women’s peloton, mean that stages - and the overall race - can be taken by breakaways. Powerful Dutch rouleur Ellen van Dijk took the 2011 edition, thanks to a group staying away on the second stage, while a similar break saw German World time trial champion Judith Arndt win last year’s race.

Having retired at the end of last year, Arndt will not be on the Qatar start line to defend her title, but van Dijk is expected to ride once more as part of Specialized-lululemon.

Also likely to be at the start is two-time former World champion Giorgia Bronzini, who finished second behind both Wild’s victories and holds the record - with Wild - for stage wins with three. The Italian will doubtless be joined in the new Wiggle-Honda line up by 2011 stage winner Rochelle Gilmore.

The race will begin - as it did in 2009 and 2010 - at the Museum of Islamic Art in the capital, Doha, and cover 97km to the southern city of Mesaieed. Stage two will see the usual start at the Camel Race Track at the centre of the country, and cover an identical course to last year’s opening stage to the Al Khor Corniche on the east coast.

Stage three will start on the nearby beach at Al Thakhira and cover an 112.5km route to Madinat Al Shamal on the very northern tip of the peninsular, while the final stage will be an 86.5km blast between the Sealine Beach Resort and the Doha Corniche.

Ladies’ Tour of Qatar (2.1) January 29th - February 1st, 2013

15 Invited Teams

Orica - AIS
Topsport Vlaanderen – Bioracer - Ridley
China Chongming – Giant Procyling
French national team
German national team
Team Specialized Lululemon
Italian national team
MCipollini Giordana Galassia
Dutch national team
Rabo Women Cycling Team
Team Argos-Shimano
Hitec Products UCK
United Kingdom
DTPC Wiggle - Honda
TIBCO to the Top

Stage 1, Tuesday 29th January: Museum of Islamic Art – Mesaieed (97 km)
Stage 2, Wednesday 30th January: Camel Race Track – Al Khor Corniche (96 km)
Stage 3, Thursday 31st January: Al Thakhira – Madinat Al Shamal (112.5 km)
Stage 4, Friday 1st February: Sealine Beach Resort – Doha Corniche (86.5 km)


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