The Tour of Qatar was due to return for its 16th edition in 2017, and for the first time with WorldTour status, but was cancelled in December 2016 citing lack of sponsorship.

Both the men’s and the women’s races will not run in 2017, with no indication about whether they will return in 2018 or the near future.

The Tour of Qatar was a firmly-established fixture of the early season, attracting attention as a meeting for the top sprinters, and an indication as to how the Classics riders were shaping up ahead of spring, specifically in the race’s inevitable crosswinds.

Those crosswinds over the five-stage race made for some fast and often entertaining racing as the powerful riders fought for splits in the bunch, with virtually no uphills along the route.

The roll-call of winners is a mixture of rouleurs and sprinters, with Britain’s Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) the overall winner in what could be the final edition, in 2016. The GC often came down to the one individual time trial in the race, with the flat and fast roads favouring all out power over time trial riders that prefer technical or climbing courses.

Tom Boonen (Quick-Step) holds the record number of overall Tour of Qatar victories with seven, taking 22 stage victories along the way.

Since 2009 the organisers have also held the Ladies Tour of Qatar shortly before the men’s race, with Dutch sprinter Kirsten Wild holding a record number of victories with four.

Tour of Qatar: Recent winners

2016: Mark Cavendish
2015: Niki Terpstra
2014: Niki Terpstra
2013: Mark Cavendish
2012: Tom Boonen
2011: Mark Renshaw
2010: Wouter Mol
2009: Tom Boonen
2008: Tom Boonen
2007: Wilfried Cretskens
2006: Tom Boonen

Website: Tour of Qatar official website

Full list of riders and teams taking part in the 2016 Tour of Qatar (February 8-12), including race numbers

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