Cycling’s Tour of Qatar set for 2018 return, claims official

Qatar Cycling and Triathlon Federation president Mohamed Al Kuwari has said the country’s desert stage cycling race will return in 2018 after this year’s edition was cancelled.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) last month confirmed that this year’s Tour of Qatar and Ladies Tour of Qatar events had been abandoned, with the body citing a lack of backing from sponsors as a reason for the cancellations.

The men’s Tour of Qatar was one of 10 new events to be granted top-tier WorldTour status in August and had been due to take place from February 6-10. In an interview with the Qatar News Agency, Al Kuwari said: “During the coming period, the federation is planning to organise strong local tournaments in a bid to discover local talents to represent the Qatari national teams.

“The federation will host international tournaments again next year, the most important of which will be the Tour of Qatar.”

The cancellation of this year’s Tour of Qatar will leave a 10-day gap on the WorldTour calendar between the conclusion of the Dubai Tour on February 4 and the start of the Tour of Oman on February 14.

The UCI is looking to develop the sport in the Middle East, with Doha having staged the 2016 Road World Championships in October.

The inaugural edition of the men’s Tour of Qatar took place in 2002. Great Britain’s Mark Cavendish is the defending champion. The first edition of the women’s event was staged in 2009, with Germany’s Trixi Worrack having picked up last year’s title.