Astana and RadioShack-Leopard announce strong teams for the Tour of Qatar
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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Astana and RadioShack-Leopard announce strong teams for the Tour of Qatar

by Ben Atkins at 12:56 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Qatar
Fabian Cancellara to start Classics build up; Evan Huffman to make his professional debut

fabian cancellaraThe Astana and RadioShack-Leopard teams have both announced their line ups for the six stage Tour of Qatar, which starts on Sunday, February 3rd. Both teams will be fielding new riders in their rosters, but with very different characteristics; the RadioShack-Leopard team features a host of strong time triallists, including the 2013 debut of Fabian Cancellara, while Astana will be chasing stage victories with Italian sprinter Andrea Guardini.

“The Tour of Qatar is a very windy race, and the speeds are very fast. We expect the peloton to split up every day, and for the strongest riders to remain at the front. Our work will be based around Guardini,” explained Astana assistant directeur sportif Gorazd Stangelj. “If he is in good shape then everything will be to work for him.

“We also have Božič, Gruzdev and Grivko going very strong right now, and that gives us plenty of options. With all of the choices we have, we are hoping for one stage victory at the Tour of Qatar.”

As well as Astana new boy Guardini, the team will give a professional debut to 23-year-old American Evan Huffman, who makes the step up from the US domestic peloton to the WorldTour this year, as well as 21-year-old Arman Kamyshev who rode with Astana’s Continental team last year.

The race will also mark the debut as directeur sportif Jaan Kirsipuu, who finally retired as a professional rider last year, at the age of 43.

"Kirsipuu was the kind of rider who won flat, windy sprint stages, and he has a lot experience with this type of racing,” said Stangelj. “Together we will put some good tactics into the Tour of Qatar.”

RadioShack-Leopard meanwhile, will field a team similar to the one it will turn out for the Cobbled Classics later in the spring, with Cancellara joined by new boy, two-time Ronde van Vlaanderen winner Stijn Devolder. The strength of the team will doubtless make it one to watch in the 14km stage two team time trial, but it is unlikely to feature in the likely sprint finishes on most other days.

Astana team for the Tour of Qatar
Borut Božič, Andrey Grivko, Dmitri Gruzdev, Andrea Guardini, Jacopo Guarnieri, Evan Huffman, Arman Kamyshev, Dmitry Muravyev

RadioShack-Leopard team for the Tour of Qatar
Fabian Cancellara, Stijn Devolder, Tony Gallopin, Markel Irizar, Nelson Oliveira, Yaroslav Popovych, Gregory Rast, Hayden Roulston


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