Ladies' Tour of Qatar to raise curtain on new women's cycling season
Katie Colclough will be the only Briton in the field at the season-opening Ladies' Tour of Qatar.
Last Updated: 28/01/13 5:57pm
The race has been extended from three to four stages for its fifth edition and will once again be contested on flat roads perfect for sprint finishes.
The Netherlands' Kirsten Wild (Argos-Shimano) will be looking for a hat-trick of victories after overall wins in 2009 and 2010, but reigning champion Judith Arndt is not present to defend her title.
Although newly formed British outfit Wiggle Honda will be among the 15 teams taking part, there are no home-nation riders in their squad, leaving 22-year-old Colclough to fly the Union Jack alone.
The British under-23 road race champion is in her third season with German team Specialized-lululemon, but will likely be restricted to a support role for 2011 winner Ellen van Dijk.
Stage one of the race takes the riders 97km from the Museum of Islamic Art in central Doha to Mesaieed, with the day expected to finish in a bunch sprint.
The peloton will then travel 96km from the Camel Race Track to Al Khor Corniche on stage two, before heading to the far north of the country for a 112.5km ride from Al Thakhira to Madinat Al Shamal on stage three.
The race will conclude with a 86.5km stage from Sealine Beach Resort to Doha Corniche, once again ending in a sprint finish.