Qatar in talks to stage Tour de France in 2016
Qatar says it is in talks to stage the start of the Tour de France in 2016, more than two years after initially broaching the idea with cycling chiefs.
“His highness (the Emir) has had this idea in mind for quite a while. They have started the discussions and the process,” a source with close ties to the government told the Reuters news agency, asking not to be identified.
State-owned Qatar Airways was the official airline for this year’s Tour.
Next year’s race will depart from Liege, Belgium, while Corsica is set to kick off the 100th Tour in 2013.
Barcelona, Edinburgh and cities in England, Netherlands, Germany and Austria have all expressed an interest in hosting future starts.
None of those include the logistical and meterological challenge of a start in the Middle East, where the searing July heat would pose a challenge for the riders and almost certainly ensure a short stage or time trial.
The Abu Dhabi international triathlon, featuring a 200km bike leg, has been held in UAE in March since 2010 and attracts many of the world’s best triathletes.
This year temperatures were way above the seasonal norm and many top riders struggled.