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Tour of Qatar Course Preview - Sprinters Challenge
By Lee Rodgers
Date: 2/4/2010
Tour of Qatar Course Preview - Sprinters Challenge

Tour of Qatar Course Preview - Sprinters Challenge
704 kilometers of racing on the flat terrain and warm temperatures of Qatar presents a perfect locale for six days of sprinters duels as the best of the fast legs test the legs of their rivals for 2010.

Tour of Qatar: History
The Tour of Qatar is a stage race Qatar conducted by the Qatar Cycling Federation and run by the Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO), the group that runs the Tour de France, amongst other races. The Tour of Qatar was first run in 2002. Despite the heat and wind of the desert that is the Qatari landscape, the race has gradually become an important event for riders eager to get racing kilometers in their legs, to prepare for the Spring Classics season.

As the terrain of the route is almost completely flat, the race attracts sprinters for a first test of their legs against their season rivals - a quick look at the race's previous winners shows that the race is usually won by a sprinter.

The undisputed master of Qatar`s hot, flat roads is the Belgian Tom Boonen. "Super Tom" has won 15 stages, 5 points classification trophies, and has won the overall 3 times. When Boonen first won the Tour of Qatar in 2005, he then went on to have his best year, winning the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, the green jersey at the Tour de France and the World Championships. Quite a year!

Unfortunately last year's race, won by Boonen, was marred by the death of Frederik Nolf, who was only 21 years old. He died in his sleep after suffering a heart attack, and the next day`s racing was neutralized to pay respect to Nolf. Boonen was a good friend of Nolf, and said at the time; “It's difficult to know which words I can use to express myself and my sadness, I find it terrible, and we’ll just have to keep going."

This year's race promises to be an exciting one, as many big-name sprinters and Classics contenders head for the tiny Gulf state. Boonen will be trying to claim a fourth overall against some of the biggest names in professional cycling.

The 2010 Route & Race Details
Running from February Sunday 7th to Friday 12th, the 2010 Tour of Qatar is 6 stages, a total of  704 kilometres.

This year the Tour of Qatar begins with an 8.2 kilometre team time trial.
The longest stage is the second, at 147kms. One word really is enough to describe each of the stages - flat.

Tour of Qatar UCI 2.1 - Stages
February 7 - 12

Stage 1:  West Bay Lagoon West Bay Lagoon TTT 8.2 km
Stage 2:  Camel Race Track Qatar Foundation 147 km
Stage 3:  Dukhan Mesaieed 136.5 km
Stage 4:  The Pearl Al Khor Corniche 146.5 km
Stage 5:  Lusail Madinat Al Shamal 142 km
Stage 6:  Al Wakra Doha Corniche 123.5 km
Total Distance: 704 km

Details: Teams, Jerseys and Purse:
16 teams of 8 riders
3 jerseys
Gold - Overall Individual
Silver - Overall Points
Blue - Best Young Rider
There is 105,985 €* of prize money including 9,200** Euros for the overall winner.
* USA $145,277.90  -  92,331.66 British Pounds
** USA $12,612.37 - 8,014.07 British Pounds

The race is classified as a UCI 2.1 race; it is part of the  UCI Asian calendar, rated a Class 1 event open to Elite Men.
UCI Points:
General Classification points (top 12 riders):  80, 56, 32, 24, 20, 16, 12, 8, 7, 6,5, 3.
Stage Points top 6 riders: 16,11,6, 5, 4, 2
•Winner’s jersey at the end of each stage: 8 points.
The elimination deadline for riders is 12% over the winners time for each stage.


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