Pedaling for glory in the desert

The Tour of Qatar has given cyclists the opportunity to test themselves in extreme conditions, including sandstorms.

| | Sport, Middle East, Qatar, Cycling

Al Wakrah, Qatar - Cycling is still recovering and trying to rebuild from years of drug-related controversies.

The biggest one involved seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, who was found guilty of doping. Armstrong was stripped of his titles and banned for life by the sport's governing body.

But individuals and teams have not given up hope yet.

Australia's Orica GreenEdge team was formed four years ago and is one of the fresh faces in the world of cycling, keen to put the controversies aside and bring out the seriousness of the sport and the demands it puts on the cyclists.

The Tour of Qatar, a six-stage race, runs for a total of 773.4km. It takes the riders through deserts, historical sites, a beach resort, a time trial track before culminating at Doha's corniche.

The real test for the cyclists, however, comes in the form of the sandstorms, dryness and heat along the desert route.

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