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by Mark Zalewski
December 30, 2016
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Van Aert extends series lead with Azencross win; Sanne Cant wins Azencross; Frustrations as no proof of innocence given to parliament in Wiggins case; Syncing with Sagan: Sam Bennett looks ahead to 2017; Van der Poel okay after hard crash; Stybar makes return to cyclocross in Azencross; More questions arise from Tour of Qatar cancellation; Family of fallen cyclist calls for safer roads; Jens Voigt to ‘Everest’ Berlin Teufelsberg hill for charity; Video: Best of 2016 by bike; Ride along with Wout van Aert.
The sudden cancellation of the Tour of Qatar by organisers from what was said to be “financial difficulties” are leaving teams scrambling to find alternative races for the middle of February and have left others to wonder why this would happen to an ASO-backed event funded by a wealthy nation.
Sheikh Khalid bin Ali Al Thani, UCI president Brian Cookson and Eddy Merckx pictured during the 2016 UCI Road World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
“I have no idea why Tour of Qatar will not continue,” said Eddy Merckx, who has organised the Tour of Qatar, along with business partner Dirk De Pauw, for the past fifteen years. “I heard earlier this week, but this certainly comes from the highest political level.”
Merckx was asked if the criticism over this year’s World Championships [in Doha] could have played a role in the decision by the government.
“The World Championships has nothing to do with it, I think. They got a very nice event, the best World Championships in years. Criticism? I do not think that played a role. No, Qatar is building on its investments in [many] sports. Not only cycling is a victim of that.”
“We had the first stage of the programmess of all 29 riders for the first months of the season on paper,” said Wilfried Peeters, a director with the Quick Step Floors team. “Now we have to start all over again. Organisationally, this is a disaster. This decision could have been announced by the UCI in early December? Once more it becomes clear that they in Switzerland just do their thing and not take the teams into account.”
Click through to read more at Het Nieuwsblad.