It is time to pay tribute to the inspiration behind this decade of incremental success. By the turn of the century, the globalisation of cycling, already a wellestablished feature of the peloton, had not yet taken root in the mind of the sport’s organisers. Qatar, driven by an infallible and visionary confidence, decided to take a gamble. Cycling became a major axis in an ambitious policy to develop first class sports events. The country put forward its best assets: its climate, ideal for this time of year, its high quality infrastructure, and its hospitality. With the support of the most illustrious name in the history of cycling, Eddy Merckx, the state of Qatar was able to attract the best teams worldwide for a top rate test, and to offer the stars of the sprinting firmament the first opportunity to shine in the season. Leafing through the list of past winners one comes across the names of all the great finishers: Mario Cipollini, Robert Hunter, Robbie McEwen and Mark Cavendish, and the most accomplished, classic chasers, Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara. Both of them also world champions!
The twelfth edition of the Tour of Qatar is the result of dedicated and long-standing commitment. It is a fragment of history illustrating what a strong will can achieve in the face of challenge. This period is crowned with another sporting achievement for Qatar, being chosen to organise the football World Cup in 2022. This will only add to the celebratory spirit of this anniversary event, taking place from 6 to 11 February. All sports are winners when they are guided by enlightened ambitions.