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The 2016 Road World Championships have been confirmed as taking place in Qatar in October.
Sheik Khalid bin Ali Al Thani, Chairman of Qatar cycling federation, has announced that the Team Time Trial opens the event on October 9 of 2016 and closes on October 16th with the Men’s Road Race. This comes approximately two weeks later than the World Championships is normally held.
The reason for the departure of the World Championships from its regular September time slot is said to be weather that is too hot.
Organiser John Lelangue explains that the conditions will still be a challenge, but that measures may be taken.
“Over the past decade the average temperature is at 31 degrees during the day,” he said, according to Het Nieuwsblad. “We will see what we can do and will consider putting in an extra water-motorbike, as is the case with the Grand Tours.”
Eddy Merckx pointed out that the calendar slot also has another reason. “The timing has to do with the Olympics,” he said. “There should be sufficient time between the Olympic road race and the world championship. This is also why October was chosen.”
Qatar will be the first country in the Middle East to organise a World Championships. It has hosted the men’s and women’s Tour of Qatar in recent years, and the world championships is the next step in the country’s engagement with cycling.
The world championship course will be 19 kilometres long, and will take in Katara cultural site and a passage along the Pearl island.
The flat course is likely to be wind-buffeted, and echelons will potentially be a prime decider for the medals. It will be seen as a strong opportunity for sprinters.