By David Hunter
Doha – Doha 40km
The course is as flat as a pancake, but does feature a long stretch in the desert. Once into town, they hit the Pearl circuit, which has already featured heavily this week. The section in the desert will be crucial, especially if the wind is strong.
Very hot. The section in the desert will be brutal. The wind is coming from the north-west, so it’s mainly a cross/tail wind. That is good news for the riders.
Rohan Dennis – started the season by winning the Aussie TT title, over 40.9km. His next TT was over in California and he won again, this time over 20.3km. Next up was the Tour de France, where he was 5th over 37.5km. He wasn’t overly pleased with his performance, but had been riding hard as a domestique for the early part of the race. Things were going well in Rio, but broken tri-bars forced him to change bike and he moved from silver to 5th. After the disappointment of Rio, he was back in action in the Tour of Britain, finishing 2nd over 15km, before winning the Eneco Tour TT, over 9.6km. It’s been a solid season, but not dominant. Luck has not been kind to him, he’ll be hoping for an incident free ride. The form is good and he should cope well with the heat.
Tony Martin – he’s eventually hit a good patch of form. That seems to have coincided with him reverting back to his old TT position. His first win of 2016 came in the Tour of Britain TT, a much waited victory. He’s already won the rainbow jersey on three occasions, he’ll fancy his chances of making it four. Carefully managing your effort will be very important, he has all the experience in the world, something that could be very important.
Tom Dumoulin – it’s funny how things change fast in cycling. Back on July 15th, the Dutchman put in one of the most impressive TT performances ever seen. He smashed the TDF TT, winning by over one minute. He followed that up with 2nd place in the hilly Tour TT, another stunning performance. He looked all set for a big win in Rio, but crashed out of the Tour and could “only” finish 2nd in the Olympics. He was then 3rd in the Tour of Britain TT, but disappointed in the Eneco Tour, finishing down in 14th. On paper, Dumoulin is the best in the business, but does he have the form?
Vasil Kiryienka – the man that seems to save himself for the World Championships. He was 4th in 2013 and 2014, before taking a huge win in Richmond. He has no results to speak off in 2016, as he’s usually asked to put his team first. He crashed out of the Eneco Tour, but was seen riding his TT bike just days after this. Team Sky performed well in the TTT, with Kiryienka putting in an excellent shift. Despite his lack of results, the current world champion cannot be written off.
Jonathan Castroviejo – the Spanish sensation won the recent TT in the European Championships, his first big win outside of Spain. He’s had a steady rise to the top, but often has just failed to make the podiums in the big races. He finished 4th in Richmond and Rio, a horrible position to find yourself in. He has a massive engine and should be able to threaten the podium here, but can he avoid being 4th!?
Maciej Bodnar – a man capable of surprising the big boys. The Pole was an outstanding 6th in Rio, on a course that didn’t really suit him. He should love the flat of Qatar, so could do even better than he did in Rio. He has already tasted success this year, winning the TT in De Panne. He has a podium finish in him, but will he be able to do it here?
Form is temporary, class is permanent. I’ll go with the rider I think is the best in the world. It’s a win for Tom Dumoulin.
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