In 2008 the Tour of Qatar will be one of the landmark events to kick off the cycling season.
For the 7th time, on Sunday the 27th of January, more than 130 of some of the world’s leading riders will be at the start, intent on arriving at the finish on Friday the 1st of February and focused on capturing the gold, silver or blue jersey or the team ranking, according to individual talent and ambition.
Last year’s winner, the Belgian rider, Wilfried Cretskens, will be defending his title. His compatriot, Tom Boonen, last year’s runner up, will be keen on clinching a victory – as in 2006 – and boosting his superb record of eleven stage victories.
All of this is organised under the leadership of another Belgian rider who boasts the greatest list of prize-wins in the history of cycling: the legendary Eddy Merckx. He is the founder of this Tour of Qatar and remains its linchpin, in close collaboration with the National Olympic Committee, the Qatar Cycling Federation and the organisers of the Tour de France.
Consequently, during the six days of this competition, Qatar will be the focus of all attention and in the full glare of the media with extensive coverage of the event broadcast around the world… And, of course, it is with the guarantee of good weather and excellent hotel and sports facilities, that this 7th edition will once again be launched from the magnificent Doha Corniche in the form of a prologue and a team time trial. The race will return to the Doha Corniche for the final after five stages which will take the seventeen invited teams, which include the Doha team and the national team of Iran, over the routes in the north of the country with a first time finish in front of the Qatar Foundation.
This new edition will further confirm Qatar’s established ability in organising illustrious sports events. In addition to cycling, the state of Qatar has also hosted the Asian Games, a huge success in 2006, along with the Tennis Open, the Masters Golf tournament and the Motorcycle Grand Prix.
Moreover, we renewed our partnership without the slightest hesitation, in order to ensure together the future development of the Tour of Qatar.
Director of the Tour de France