Qatar launches women's Tour event

Boost for women's sport in Muslim state

The Gulf state of Qatar will launch a women's Tour event in February 2009, bringing together 15 teams, including six national squads, and 90 riders.

The Ladies Tour of Qatar will run between February 8-10, following on from the Men's Tour which runs from February 1-6.

Although 90 riders from 14 countries on five continents will gather for the three-stage race, there will be no local riders competing.

"We hope to gradually develop women's sport in Qatar," Sheikh Khalid Bin Ali Abdulla al-Thani, head of the Qatari cycling federation said, adding that the holding of the Tour event would be a "real boost" for women's sport in the Muslim state.

Ladies Tour of Qatar teams:

Nuremberg (GER), Columbia (GER), Lotto (BEL), Giant (CHN), Flexpoint (NED), Leontien (NED), Selle Italia (ITA), Bigia (SUI), Cervelo (SUI); Australia, France, Italy, Japan, South Africa, United States

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