The fifth edition of the Ladies Tour of Qatar will pit two-time winner Kirsten Wild against some of the regular fixtures on the podium.
The elite women's peloton is heading to Doha for the first big event of the season, with January 29 marking the start of a four-day showdown on the roads of Qatar. The general classification of the "Ladies" has a penchant for coming down to the wire, and the extra stage added to the race this year will not necessarily reduce the gaps at the end. Two of the ninety women on the start list have already been crowned queens of the desert, although Kirsten Wild's Middle Eastern palmarès (2009 and 2010) still outshines Ellen van Dijk's (2011). In the fifth edition of the race, the ITT world bronze medallist in Valkenburg will bring to bear her experience in close battles: the Dutch rider took both of her previous wins in Qatar with just four seconds to spare in the general classification. This could fire up all the second-placed riders in the history of the race, starting with Georgia Bronzini, who finished runner-up to Wild in both of her victories. The Italian will also come up against Kirsten Wild's teammate Charlotte Becker, who took the second podium spot in 2011, as well as another German, last year's runner-up Triki Worrack.
15 teams: main contenders
German national team (GER): Fischer (GER)
Orica - AIS (GEW): Johansson (SWE), Cromwell (AUS)
Topsport Vlaanderen-Bioracer (VLL): Vekemans (BEL)
Specialized-Lululemon (SLU): Worrack (GER), Van Dijk (NED)
Team Tibco - To The Top (TIB): Olds (USA)
French national team (FRA): Rousse, Lesueur (FRA)
Wiggle Honda (WHT): Bronzini (ITA), Gilmore (AUS)
China Chongming-Giant (GPC): Huang (CHN)
Bepink (BPK): Amialiusik (BLR), Cantele (ITA)
Italian national team (ITA): Cecchini (ITA)
MCipollini Giordana (MCG): Guderzo (ITA)
Hitec Products-UCK (HPU): Moberg (NOR)
Dutch national team (NED): Bras (NED)
Rabo Women Cycling Team (RBW): Slappendel (NED)
Team Argos-Shimano (SKI): Wild (NED), Becker (GER)
For its fifth edition, the Ladies Tour of Qatar is growing in scale with an extra day of racing, moving from three to four stages. The event is the unmissable event of the start to the women’s cycling season and will commence on 29th January from Doha Bay in the magnificent setting of the Museum of Islamic Art, designed in 2008 by Ieoh Ming Pei, the architect responsible for the Louvre Pyramid, before finishing on 1st February on the waterfront of the Qatari capital.Three years ahead of the world championships that will take place for the first time in Qatar, the best cyclists of the international pack will try to tame the windy roads of the emirate. Fifteen teams, representing ten different nationalities, will be striving to do their best and obtain the Golden Jersey worn by the leader of the general classification, won last year by Germany’s Judith Arndt.