Qatar Airways named Official Partner of the Tour of Qatar cycling event, attracting some of the world’s best cyclists to the prestigious event, now in its 11th year.

More than 200 international cyclists will converge on Qatar for some fine racing that is expected to attract huge crowds lining the race route.

The nine-day Tour around the tiny Gulf state of Qatar will see the best male and female cyclists compete for the coveted titles. In the men’s event, distinguished names such as world champion, Briton Mark Cavendish, Norway’s former world champion Thor Hushovd, defending champion Australian Mark Renshaw and Belgian racer Tom Boonen, winner of several Tour of Qatar races, will all be aiming high for the top prize.

Mark Cavendish will return to Doha to compete in the event for the fifth time with Swiss Olympic champion Fabian Cancellara also aiming for the winner’s jacket.

In the women’s race, Kirsten Wild and defending champion Ellen Van Dijk, from Holland, will return to Qatar bidding for top honours.

The women’s tour will run from February 1 – 3, while the men will compete for the title from February 5 – 10.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said the airline was proud to be associated with one of the world’s leading cycling events in line with the country’s strong tradition to support leading sporting tournaments and events.

“For the past 11 years, this prestigious event has brought some of the world’s best male and female cyclists to our capital city of Doha for some fine racing over almost two weeks.

“We look forward to bringing our 5-star service to the athletes arriving in our city and we wish them all the best as the competition gets underway this week.”