The start lists for both the 2010 Tour of Qatar and the new Tour of Oman are filling up with a lot of big-name pro-tour riders. The change in climate could be one of the reasons, but one thing is certain: it’s still early in the season, and these riders are looking to fine-tune their form in preparation for more events later this year.
The Amaury Sports Organization (ASO), race organizer for both events, have released the start lists for the Qatar and Oman tours, showing off top-notch cycling talent belonging to at least ten ProTour teams, including the under-23 Trek-Livestrong team.
Last season’s overall winner in the Tour of Qatar, Tom Boonen, will be sporting number one for this year’s race. Boonen has been in dominant form in this event since the inaugural edition, and he will be going after his 3rd conscutive (and 4th overall) win.
Team Sky has fielded Edvald Boasson Hagen to challenge Boonen on the sprints, and has also added Bradley Wiggins to their Qatar lineup. Getting the victory in the team time trials is the obvious goal for Team Sky, as seen in their signing of track star Geraint Thomas and Ian Stannard.
The list of sprinters for this year’s Middle East races raise the chances of the fans seeing photo finishes and furious finishes. Team Saxo Bank will be led by its star Fabian Cancellara, together with Baden Cooke and Lucas Sebastian. Roger Hammond of the Cervelo Test Team is in, as well as Theo Bos, Heinrich Hausler, and neo-pro Davide Appollonio, all known for their sprinting prowess.
The Trek-Livestrong team will have an excellent opportunity to showcase their talent in these events, as well as being a great stepping stone for Taylor Phinney in his move to the professional field.