Sky's skipping of Qatar and Oman tours 'nothing to do with 2015 protests'

Team Sky's sports director Servias Knaven explains the team's reasons for missing the Middle East races in 2016

The peloton on stage six of the 2015 Tour of Qatar

(Image credit: Watson)

Team Sky has elected not to take part in the 2016 Tour of Qatar and Tour of Oman, the first time the British team has missed the Middle East races since the squad's debut in 2010. Sky says it has nothing to do with last year's rider protests due to extreme weather conditions.

After high winds and heat swept across the Arabian Peninsula, cyclists stopped, argued and forced the local organiser and co-owner Eddy Merckx to cancel the fifth stage on February 21. Merckx said the next day that the locals were "very angry with a few riders and some teams may not be invited back".

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Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.