Doha, Qatar(MildStallion News Service) – There have been rumors of a pro cycling race taking place across the sands of the middle eastern kingdom this week. In my mind I hopped a flight to Doha to get a feel for the event and take in what was sure to be a top-notch event.
After losing a contact lens in a sandstorm, I was left with a pounding headache due to having to constantly squint with one eye. Fortunately I was able to get some rider reaction after the end of stage 2.
I was lucky enough to catch up with a decidedly müde Jens Voigt right after the finish. The always-aggressive German fan fave sure looked tapped out. I asked him if it was the result of one of his typical long breakaways. “No, no: it was just zo boring out zere today. I sought zat if I were to attack early in ze stage, I could end ze race sooner. All of zis sand…now I think I know why people go crazy in ze desert, ja?”. Rest well, Jens, you’re going to need that energy when you get to Sacramento.
Another rider, speaking on condition of anonymity (we’ll call him “Orange Rider”) was equally as candid. “I thought that at some point that the terrain would change – you know a hill, some vegetation at least where you could break away and not be in clear view for miles.” He paused for a moment to down his third bottle of water in what seemed like only five minutes. “It was brutally boring. Straight lines, sand – the freaking sand! The wind blew everyone into echelons. The heat was manageable; it was the boredom that was wearing everybody down.”
This reporter agrees. The Tour of Qatar is decidedly the most boring race on the UCI calendar. It was a lot of work to stay awake to follow the stages, let alone reading the race reports on VeloNews. It’s always nice to know that you aren’t alone with your predicaments. On the imaginary flight home, I had a long layover in London, so I took to the countryside for a brief ride.
I was able to strike up a “convo” with a yellow-clad brit rider while out on the path. As soon as I brought up the topic of my travels, they instantly began to yawn uncontrollably. “Sorry,” I said – fearing I had been wasting their time. “No, pardon me! It’s just that every time I hear of that dreadful race across the dunes I can’t help but fall into a malaise.” The Euros really are a cycling-astute bunch. They know that the Tour of California and Het Volk are just around the corner – and that’s when the real races begin.