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Adam Hodges

Tour of Qatar 2016

In a surprise move, organizers have announced the cancellation of the 2017 Tour of Qatar and the Ladies Tour of Qatar due to financial troubles.

That means 2017 will be the first time in 16 years that Qatar will not hold the men’s cycling event.

In a brief statement yesterday, Union Cycliste Internationale said:

“UCI has today received notice of the cancellation of both the Tour of Qatar and Ladies Tour of Qatar. It is understood the decision follows difficulty attracting sponsor financial support.”

The men’s tournament, which was recently upgraded to WorldTour status, was due to be held in February.

Velos News reports that “its abrupt exit leaves a hole in the calendar just weeks before the 2017 WorldTour opens” on Jan. 17.

Just a few months ago in October, Qatar became the first Arab country to host the UCI Road World Championships.

While many hailed that event as a success, detractors criticized the heat, lack of fan turnout and other issues.

Thoughts?

UCI Road World Championships 2016

Simon Chan/Flickr

UCI Road World Championships 2016

More than 1,000 local and international riders will participate in one of Qatar’s largest-ever cycling events this morning.

The Ride of Champions is part of the 2016 UCI Road World Championships, and the only chance where the “public can physically participate on the same field of play” with the pros, organizers said.

It runs from 7am to 10am, but participants are asked to show up as early as 5am to ensure they can find parking and sort out registration in time.

Closures

The 15 to 75km looped course begins at the National Exhibition Center by Katara Cultural Village, and finishes up at the Pearl-Qatar.

According to the Ministry of Interior, road closures will be in place on this route from 6:30am to 10:30am.

While registration for the event is now closed, spectators are welcome to cheer riders on from the fan zone at the Pearl.

It’s located at Qatar Beach in Costa Malaz, and will be open from 7am to 9pm today.

Remaining events

Also today, the Women’s Elite Road Race will be held from 12:45pm to 4:20pm.

This 134km course runs from Education City to the Pearl, whose roads will be closed during this time.

UCI Road World Championships 2016

Ray Toh / Doha News

UCI Road World Championships 2016

And the championships will close tomorrow with the Men’s Elite Road Race, which runs from 10:30am to 4:35pm.

This starts at the Aspire Zone and also ends up at the Pearl.

Have you watched any of the time trials or races yet? Thoughts?

All photos by Ray Toh

The UCI Road World Championships made history yesterday by opening its tournament for the first time in the Middle East.

More than 1,600 cyclists from around the world are in town for the 89th edition of the event, which kicked off with opening ceremonies last night at Education City.

The championships run through Oct. 16. It includes a grueling 257.5km men’s elite race, starting at the Aspire Zone and heading through Education City.

Four other races will take place across Qatar – including the women’s and men’s team time trials today, Oct. 9. All start in Lusail City and finish on the Pearl.

Spectators can head down to watch all the races in person, or they can be viewed live online on UCI’s YouTube channel.

Road closures

As athletes cycle across Qatar, several road closures will be in place around town.

The biggest ones will be at the Pearl-Qatar, and organizers have yet to announce how other venues like the Aspire Zone and Qatar Foundation will be affected later on this week.

Today, Oct. 9, the road from Lusail and from Katara signal going toward the Pearl will be closed from 1:30pm until 5pm.

The road from West Bay to Katara will also be closed, and those driving on the Al Khor Coastal Road will be facing diversions too.

To stay updated on the latest closures, check the MOI’s Twitter feed or follow the hashtag #QATraffic.

Thoughts?