Stage 1 of the Tour of Qatar leads from Dukhan at the west coast to Al Khor Corniche at the east coast. Traversing the open terrains of the desert, chances are echelons breaks the peloton into pieces. Previous finishes in Al Khor Corniche were won by André Greipel and Alexander Kristoff, both after outsprinting a decimated pack.
Ambitious riders should be prepared for stage 3, a short individual time trial that could make or break a GC. Actually, this exactly what happened to Alexander Kristoff in 2015. Niki Terpstra put 44 seconds into him and the Dutchman eventually won the overall with a 9 seconds lead over the Norwegian sprinter. Terpstra is absent in 2016 as his team Etixx-QuickStep skips the Tour of Qatar.
All stages bring two intermediate sprints in which time bonuses of 3, 2 and 1 seconds are to be gained, while the first three riders in all stages (with the exception of the ITT) win 10, 6 and 4 extra seconds.
The dominant wind direction in Qatar northwesterly and hard winds are common. Echelons, sprints and time trialing, that is the Tour of Qatar in a nutshell.
Tour of Qatar 2016: Route, Google Maps and more
Click on the images to zoom