Tour of Qatar features 18 different teams, and will cover a very flat 732.5km in six stages. OPQS rider Tom Boonen, who is not able to participate due to recovering from an operation after a septic infection to his left elbow bursa, won the GC four times, and a total of 20 stages. Sprinter Mark Cavendish could perhaps continue the success of OPQS at Tour of Qatar, as he won four stages in his career.
Zdenek Stybar will take the place of Boonen for Tour of Qatar.
“This year Tom Boonen won’t be at the start,” Sports Director Wilfried Peeters said. “Tom was the specialist of the race. He won at least one stage every year, and was the record man of victories at Tour of Qatar. This year he can’t attend, so we will focus our attention on other riders, and of course Mark Cavendish. We are happy to have a rider like Mark with us, who has already won stages. He knows the parcour and the conditions we will find in Qatar. We will work for him, to give him the best situation for the sprint. But we also have other riders who can do well in Qatar. We have a strong team there. We will try to win at least one stage, and put at least one rider in the high part of the GC.”
“OPQS specializes in these kinds of races in the desert, with a lot of wind,” Peeters continued. “Mark can benefit from the experience of the team on this kind of parcour.”
03.02-08.02 Tour of Qatar (QAT) 2.HC
Riders Mark Cavendish ()
Iljo Keisse (BEL)
Zdenek Stybar (CZE)
Niki Terpstra (NED)
Matteo Trentin (ITA)
Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (BEL)
Stijn Vandenbergh (BEL)