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The biggest unknown in this Sunday’s world elite men’s road championship in Doha, Qatar (#UCIDoha2016) is the wind. The wind, which blows off the Persian Gulf and across the Qatari peninsula, could well create echelons like these seen at the 2012 Tour of Qatar.
#PelotonShorts by John Wilcockson/Photo by Yuzuru Sunada
The forecast for this Sunday is for modest 13-kilometer-per-hour winds from the north, which will make for headwinds over the opening 70 kilometers, and tailwinds on the following 60 kilometers before reaching The Pearl finishing circuit.
Should the wind swing to the northeast, it would create ideal cross/tailwinds that favor the development of echelons. And if there are strong crosswinds on the 60-kilometer stretch heading south across the desert, perhaps the national teams that don’t boast pure sprinters—including Belgium, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and the United States—will combine forces to put pressure on the sprinters’ teams.
Otherwise, the race will be decided on the island of The Pearl, where the constant changes of directions (and the subsequent changing winds), combined with the ultimate 257.3-kilometr distance and 90-degree heat, will make the racing a challenge for everyone in the field. [Words: John Wilcockson | Image: Yuzuru Sunada]