Ale Cipollini are heading into the Tour of Qatar every bit as ambitious as the big top 7 teams, and they have last years stage 1 winner Annalisa Cucinotta leading the way once more. They also have Malgorzata Jasinska who achieved second overall at the Tour Femenino de San Luis, and Marta Tagliaferro who won stage 2 there. DS Fortunato Lacquaniti says:
“We have high expectations for the upcoming trip, both for the excellent round, held in Argentina, from the girls, it is to honor the best win last year won by Annalisa, in the stage opening. Girls are motivated, I am sure that will give their best and demonstrate once again the strength of the group. “
Emilia Fahlin, Anna Trevisi and Marta Bastianelli complete the line up. The full start list for all teams can be found here.
Qatar Cycling Federation President Sheikh Khalid bin Ali Al Thani says of the tour:
“The Ladies Tour of Qatar is an excellent example of gender equality. It’s now as famous and successful as the men’s Tour of Qatar. Our country has embraced the Olympic spirit not only in cycling, but also in other sports. We believe sports is for everyone. The cyclists will have the chance for a test run in the race’s first stage. The other stages include Al Khor Corniche, Madinat Al Shamal and the traditional final laps and sprint on Doha Corniche.”
The Cadel/Deakin race takes place on Saturday 30th January at 11.30am local time. Although Wiggle High5 and Orica AIS are likely to provide the winner, CBR Women’s Racing manager Chris Dennis thinks his riders and team captain Chloe McIntosh will be able to give them a hard time on the day. He told the Canberra Times:
“It’s a UCI race and you’ve got (teams like) Orica-AIS, Wiggle-High5 riding. We’re not expecting to win it, but we’re pretty confident the girls will be in the mix.”
Full interview here.
Cadel Evans wants the race to get a higher UCI ranking, which would put it in competition with the Tour Down Under and Tour Femenino de San Luis as one of the first races of the year.