The Ladies Tour of Qatar snakes through the desert for four days in a race that is known for favouring sprinters and strong teams that work together to beat the wind.
The race, now in its eight year, also shares some roads with the World Championship course in October and will provide an opportunity for riders to carry out a very early recce of the route.
Who to watch?
All in all, 90 women will line up to start this year, made up from fifteen different teams. Last year’s winner, Lizzie Armitstead, will not be lining up for this year’s race, preferring to save herself for the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in Belgium. Four time winner, Kristen Wild, will however be taking to the start line and will no doubt hope to wear the Gold Leader’s jersey again.
Wild didn’t race the event last year, and is putting a hefty focus on Olympic qualification on the track in 2016 – but she’s still got strong legs as proved by recent success winning the Omnium at the 2015/2016 Cali World Cup.
Chloe Hosking of Wiggle-High5 is another pre-race favourite. A runner up last year, she has already told us: “It’s not secret that I love racing in the desert. I love the winds, the echelons, the battle to make the front. And the Ladies Tour of Qatar is one of the only races on the calendar that offers that, day after day, for four days.
“This years edition is a big goal for me. I’ve finished on the podium here for the past three years and I’d like to continue the trend, although the top step would be nice, if only so I look as tall as the other girls I race against.”