Tour of Qatar 2013: Preview and coverage index

The 2013 Tour of Qatar kicks off on Sunday February 3 for six days of sandy, wind-swept action in the Middle East. The race offers a warm-up for classics riders wishing to hone their form away from the harsh winter in Europe.

Defending champion Tom Boonen – a winner of the race on four occasions – has been forced to sit this year’s race out due to injury, and is replaced on Omega Pharma-QuickStep’s roster by Mark Cavendish. Last year, Cavendish made his debut for Sky at the race taking two stage wins but crashing heavily during the final day’s sprint.

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Eighteen teams will contest the 2013 race, a mix of WorldTour squads, Professional Continental outfits and a national team from Japan. Each squad fields eight riders.

Sky takes along its Classics squad including Edvald Boasson Hagen, Bernhard Eisel and Brits Luke Rowe, Ian Stannard and Geraint Thomas. The British-based team has made no secret of its aspirations of performing well in the spring classics – and Thomas comes to the race having placed third in the Tour Down Under and heading the points classification.

Other riders to watch out for are Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack), Steve Cummings (BMC Racing), John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano), Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM), Russell Downing (NetApp-Endura), Adam Blythe (BMC Racing), Matt Brammeier (Champion System), Heinrich Haussler (IAM) and Daniele Bennati (Saxo-Tinkoff).

The race consists of five flat road stages that will inevitably end up in a bunch sprint, albeit contested by the remnants a wind-ravaged peloton. Stage two breaks up the race with a 14km team time trial – long enough to shake up the overall classification, but not long enough to give the winning team/rider an unassailable time advantage.

The Ladies’ Tour of Qatar comprises four stages and runs from January 29 to February 1.

Cycling Weekly will be covering the 2013 Tour of Qatar in full with stage reports, interviews and photo galleries.

Tour of Qatar 2013: Latest news
Downing: Qatar is ‘perfect preparation’ for classics
Modolo crashes out of Tour of Qatar, Milan-San Remo in doubt
Geraint Thomas: Switch from track to road is permanent
Tour of Qatar 2013: Start list
Kirsten Wild wins Ladies Tour of Qatar
Katie Colclough making progress in Ladies Tour of Qatar
Kirsten Wild wins again in Ladies Tour of Qatar to take lead
Cavendish replaces Boonen in Tour of Qatar
Kirsten Wild wins stage two of Ladies Tour of Qatar
Chloe Hosking wins Ladies Tour of Qatar opening stage

Tour of Qatar 2013: Stage reports
Stage six: Cavendish wins last stage and overall
Stage five: Cavendish makes it three in a row
Stage four: Cavendish sprints into race lead
Stage three: Mark Cavendish takes bunch sprint
Stage two: BMC win team time trial
Stage one: Brent Bookwalter wins Tour of Qatar opener

Tour of Qatar 2013: Photo galleries
All galleries by Graham Watson
Stage six by Graham Watson
Stage five by Graham Watson
Stage four by Graham Watson
Stage three by Graham Watson
Stage two TTT by Graham Watson
Stage one by Graham Watson

Tour of Qatar 2013: Stages
Sunday, February 3 – Stage 1: Katara Cultural Village to Dukhan Beach, 145km
Monday, February 4 – Stage 2: Al Rufaa Street to Al Rufaa Street, 14km TTT
Tuesday, February 5 – Stage 3: Al Wakra to Mesaieed, 143km
Wednesday, February 6 – Stage 4: Camel Race Track to Al Khor Corniche, 160km
Thursday, February 7 – Stage 5: Al Zubara Fort to Madinat Al Shamal, 154km
Friday, February 8 – Stage 6: Sealine Beach Resort to Doha Corniche, 116km

Tour of Qatar 2013: Teams
Full start list>>
Ag2r La Mondiale
Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox
BMC Racing
Champion System
IAM Cycling
Omega Pharma-QuickStep

Tour of Qatar 2013: TV schedule
British satellite and digital channel British Eurosport will not be broadcasting coverage of this year’s Tour of Qatar.

“Eurosport is disappointed to report it will not broadcast the 2013 edition of the Tour of Qatar as previously scheduled. This is due to contractual issues beyond our control and independent of Eurosport,”  said a spokesperson for the channel.

King of Qatar: Tim Boonen has won the 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2012 editions of the race

Tour of Qatar: Last year’s top ten (2012)
1. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 15-42-14
2. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Barracuda at 28secs
3. Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Sky at 33secs
4. Gert Steegmans (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 34secs
5. Tom Veelers (Ned) Project 1t4i at 1-00
6. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky at 1-05
7. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan at 1-06
8. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Barracuda at 1-09
9. Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) GreenEdge at 1-10
10. Adam Blythe (GBr) BMC Racing Team at 1-14

Tour of Qatar: Previous winners
2012: Tom Boonen
2011: Mark Renshaw
2010: Wouter Mol
2009: Tom Boonen
2008: Tom Boonen
2007: Wilfried Cretskens
2006: Tom Boonen
2005: Lars Michaelsen
2004: Robert Hunter
2003: Alberto Lodo
2002: Thorsten Wilhelms

Related links
Tour of Qatar 2012: Coverage index