UPDATE! After being able to watch Stage 1, I’ve rewritten the guide to watching, and the good news is, we got free-to-air streams!
The Ladies Tour of Qatar is such a bizarre and wonderful race. On paper it’s nothing special, flat, short stages, some stages with literally only 5 or 6 corners, but on the road it’s brutal. It can be all bunch-sprints if there’s no wind, but even the slightest hint of it, and all hell breaks loose. There are intermediate seconds and more at the end to win that go towards the GC, and the riders go crazy with tons of attacking and some really strong riding – I’m especially pleased Kirsten Wild is back this year as she brings something very special to the action, stomping all over the race, having won 9 stages and 4 GCs in this race. Remember her performance in 2013 and 2014? But Wild won’t have it all her own way – there are wonderful teams just waiting for the chance to show their new iterations, and how much they want to win, especially as this is the test event for the 2016 Road World Championships. And we MIGHT get to watch it live too!
The race runs from 2nd – 5th January 2016, and Qatar is in AST (CET +2, GMT +3, EST +8 and AEDT – 8) and is shown on the Qatari and USA versions of BeIn Sports which is free-to-air (Stages 1 & 2) and BeIn 7HD, which is behind a paywall (for Stages 3 & 4) – if you’re not in the USA, and want the English commentary, use a VPN like Betternet or Hola set to USA. Otherwise you can go here, click LIVE at the top. You may have to install Silverlight, & then start it again – if it just says loading, click the Channel at the bottom – BeIn Sports for Stage 1 etc. It apparently works better in firefox or safari than chrome.
The tv schedule says it starts at around Qatari AST 13:45-3pm (10:45 to midday UK GMT; 11:45-13:00 CET, 5:45-9am EST; 9:45-11pm AEDT) for Stage 1, 13:45-15:45 for Stage 2, 1:45-3pm again for Stage 3 and 1:52-3pm for the final Stage 4. UPDATE! They have connection problems in the desert, so Stage 2 started at 11:14 GMT, so you may need to cross fingers and hope on some days.
UPDATE! Stage 4:
The stage timings for each day are in the tab on the Route pages in AST, so you can convert it (scroll down). If it doesn’t work above, there may be streams, and/or post-race videos. I’m going to look for streams here, here and you can try googling BeIn Sports stream and see what pops up, @Velorooms is doing amazing work tracking them down – UPDATE! Here’s a stream Velorooms has found and more here. My biggest tip is to check with Velorooms and @PeterVdVeen every day, and Podium Café will have live threads and post streams if they see them. And of course I’ll tweet anything I find.
If we can’t watch, the social media is fantastic, and the race hashtag is #LToQ2016, with tons of great content up already, and a really great twitter stream @TourofQatar_ and facebook. Watch out for photos of riders with camels, and enjoying their luxury hotel! And I’ll update my list of live race tweeters, as always. The ASO and Qatari organisers pay for tons of media to go out, so there’ll be a fantastic amount of coverage, and I’ll pull a post of my favourite stuff after the race. Cross fingers it includes video!
All the race information on the excellent website, great preview on Velorooms, and more previews from Wiggle High5, ORICA-AIS, Boels-Dolmans, Alé Cipollini and Rabo-liv. The startlist I’m using is on CyclingFever. And here’s the lovely Felix Mattis‘ predictions:
If you want more good news about live women’s racing, Sporza have announced they’ll stream the last 35km of the Ronde van Vlaanderen this year, and that the women’s Cyclocross World Champs got 60% of the viewing share (60% of the viewers in their geographic area watched the race) so expect a LOT more live women’s cycling this year!
Chat to me about the race here or on twitter, and share anything else you find! As always, huge thanks to the fantastic people, who support me via Patreon to write this kind of thing, and to Velorooms, for helping me track down the info this year!