Wiggins to begin 2011 season in Qatar, Boasson Hagen in Oman
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Friday, December 24, 2010

Wiggins to begin 2011 season in Qatar, Boasson Hagen in Oman

by Shane Stokes at 4:02 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Qatar
 
Team Sky outlines early schedules for 2011 season

Team SkyTeam Sky’s big name riders Bradley Wiggins and Edvald Boasson Hagen will both get their seasons underway in February, with Wiggins starting racing in the Tour of Qatar (February 6-11) and Boasson Hagen leading the squad in the Tour of Oman (February 20-24).

Wiggins has said that he wants to hit form earlier this year than last season, when he concentrated everything on what ultimately proved to be a frustrating Tour de France campaign. Wary of staking too much on one race, he wants to pick up good results early on and then prepare in a difference way for the Tour, avoiding the Giro d’Italia.

He will be joined in Qatar by two new Team Sky riders, the Britons Alex Dowset and Jeremy Hunt. Another debut will be made by Servais Knaven, who will get his new career as directeur sportif underway alongside Steven de Jongh.

There are three new faces for the squad at the Tour of Oman: the Italian Davide Appollonio and the Spaniard Xabier Zandio are transferring across from the Cervélo Test Team and Caisse d’Epargne respectively. Directeur Sportif Nicolas Portal race with Team Sky last season but then ended his pro career due to heart issues; he will begin his new role with Sean Yates.

They will all support Boasson Hagen there, twelve months after he won two stages, the points jersey and the best young rider classification in Oman. He could well have won the race, but an echelon attack by his rivals plus a puncture meant that he had to be content with second overall behind Fabian Cancellara.

Meanwhile the Colombian Rigoberto Urán debuts for the team in the Vuelta a Andalucia running between 20-24 February. Classic specialist Juan Antonio Flecha will try to take his second consecutive success in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on 26 February; one day later, Ian Stannard will return to Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne, twelve months after finishing a superb third there in appalling weather conditions.

The first Team Sky riders will begin racing in the Adelaide Cancer Council Classic on January 16th, where Greg Henderson and Chris Sutton took first and second last year. Both will be back this season, riding the race alongside Simon Gerrans, Mathew Hayman, Michael Rogers, Ben Swift and Geraint Thomas. The same selection will compete in the Santos Tour Down Under, which runs from the 18th until the 23rd.

Rogers is another new signing for the team, moving across after several years with the HTC-Columbia setup.

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