Cavendish to kick start 2012 season in Qatar
PARIS WORLD road race champion Mark Cavendish will begin his 2012 season at the Tour of Qatar, staged between February 5-10, his Sky team announced.
The Manx Missile, a winner of two stages at the event in 2009, will be joined in an eight-man squad by Davide Apollonio, Michael Barry, Juan Antonio Flecha, Jeremy Hunt, Ian Stannard and Christian Knees as well as Bernhard Eisel, who followed Cavendish to the British outfit in October.
Cavendish will also take part in the Tour of Oman, scheduled to take place from February 14-19.
Meanwhile, triple Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins will get his campaign underway at the Tour of the Algarve, held in Portugal from February 15-19.
Chris Froome, who finished second at last year’s Tour of Spain equalling the highestplaced finish for a British rider in a major Tour, will kick off his year at the Tour of Majorca, slated to take place between February 5-9.
Former world champion Oscar Freire said there will be no going back on his decision to end his illustrious career at the end of the season.
Spanish sprint specialist Freire is one of only a handful of riders to have won the world road race title three times.
And, with this year’s world championships being held on a challenging hilly course in the Netherlands, the Spaniard has set his sights on success elsewhere.
In his 13th and final season, Freire is hoping to keep a younger, hungrier bunch of sprint rivals at bay in his favourite classic the Milan- SanRemo, before resuming his love affair with the Tour de France.