Ladies Tour of Qatar, 2012
Doha, Qatar, February 1 - 3
Riders have now arrived in Doha for the fourth running of the Ladies Tour of Qatar. This ASO organised event, in conjunction with the Qatar Cycling Federation, marks the beginning of the elite season; this is the first UCI race of 2012.
Previous winners, Kirsten Wild (riding for Netherlands) and Ellen van Dijk (Specialized-lululemon) are here and on the 2012 provisional start sheet. A confirmed start sheet is expected later on 31 January. Also in Doha is World Champion, Giorgia Bronzini (Diadora Pasta Zara), who, with three wins has taken the most stages in the short history of the race (the next and only other multiple stage winner is Kirsten Wild with 2). Bronzini has also come second overall twice, in 2009 and 2010, so she may be hoping to turn the statistics in her favour this year...
Previous World Champions, Tatiana Guderzo and Marta Bastianelle are both also in Doha, riding for MCipollini Giambenini. National teams always participate in this race; naturally, perhaps in an ASO event, the French National team are here and so too, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and the USA. For the latter, sprinter, Shelley Olds will doubtless be looking for a stage win.
Without leader Emma Johansson, who is recovering from surgery after being hit by a car during training and suffering breaks to both collarbones, Hitec Products are free to concentrate on stage wins for either of their sprinters, Emile Moberg or Sara Mustonen.
GreenEDGE-AIS make their UCI debut in the desert. Australian National Champion, Amanda Spratt lines up amongst a strong team.
The stages are, as every other year, different to previously. Although with 90 percent of the Qatar population living within the capital city, Doha, the opportunity for variation in stage start and finish locations is limited. Once more, the race will depart the Camel Race Track, this time on its way to the Al Khor Corniche, which hosts an exciting coastal finish with a 180' turn on a roundabout within 1.3 kilometres. The second stage departs the Al Zubara Fort and travels in a southwesterly direction before turning north towards the finish at Madinat Al Shamal. A new finish venue, the riders will get a chance to look at the finish line when they cross it before beginning a lap of 36.5km which brings them back for the finale. Unlike other years, there are no laps in Doha for the third and final stage. Instead, a north then south run on almost parallel roads to and from Katara Cultural Village covering 92.5km. The finish is like the first stage, straight and with a 180' turn on a traffic roundabout, this time at the 'flamme rouge', the one kilometre to go point.
Stage 1: February 1st, 97km
12:30hrs Camel Race Track - Al Khor Corniche
Stage 2: February 2nd, 114.5km
12:00hrs Al Zubara Fort - Madinat Al Shamal
Stage 3: February 3rd, 92.5km
13:00hrs Katara Cultural Village > Katara Cultural Village
To be confirmed
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