The Dimension Data leads Alexander Kristoff by five seconds, which could slip away over the 11km route, but his teammate Edvald Boasson Hagen is well placed to possibly take over the lead.
The same race circuit featured in last year’s time trial, which Niki Terpstra traversed in a time of 14-03, good enough for an eight-second advantage over Fabian Cancellara and nine over Sir Bradley Wiggins.
Riders will again not be allowed to use time trial bikes in the Qatar test, meaning some of the advantages of being a good time trialler are dissipated, but the good testers will likely be among the top riders.
Kristoff showed at last year’s Three Days of De Panne that he can compete in the short time trials when the race lead is at stake, but the Katusha man ceded 44 seconds to Terpstra in the Qatar stage last year.
With few time gaps among the top 100 riders, the winner of the time trial is likely to take the overall lead. Norwegian time trial champion Boasson Hagen will look to keep the race lead in the Dimension Data team, but will be challenged by a number of riders for the stage win.
Top 30 riders’ start times (UK time)
12:33 Mark McNally (GBr) Wanty – Groupe Gobert
12:34 Maarten Wynants (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
12:35 Tomasz Kiendys (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
12:36 Soufiane Haddi (Mar) Skydive Dubai
12:37 Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen
12:38 Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin
12:39 Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Argon 18
12:40 Steven Tronet (Fra) Fortuneo – Vital Concept
12:41 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team
12:42 Ruslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
12:43 Marko Kump (Slo) Lampre – Merida
12:44 Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Team Katusha
12:45 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data
12:46 Brenton Jones (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling
12:47 André Looij (Ned) Roompot – Oranje Peloton
12:48 Christopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare
12:49 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
12:50 Michael Reihs (Den) Stölting Service Group
12:51 Simone Antonini (Ita) Wanty – Groupe Gobert
12:52 Moreno Hofland (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
12:53 Adrian Kurek (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
12:54 Andrea Francesco Palini (Ita) Skydive Dubai
12:55 Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen
12:56 Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Giant-Alpecin
12:57 Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Bora-Argon 18
12:58 Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Fortuneo – Vital Concept
12:59 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
13:00 Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana Pro Team
13:01 Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre – Merida
13:02 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha
13:03 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data