Feature – McNally’s Tour of Qatar


Day by day with Liverpool’s Mark McNally (Team Wanty-Gobert) in the Tour of Qatar 

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Feature – McNally’s Tour of Qatar

Coached by Trainsharp, Mark McNally is competing in Oman at the moment preparing for the Spring Classics. Before, Oman, he rode the Tour of Qatar and here is Mark’s look back at the race. The Liverpool rider who races for ProConti team (Team Wanty-Gobert) writes …

The first day was madness just as I expected with vicious cross winds. I just missed making the first group and spent the day chasing in a group of about 30 guys but the sensations were ok. On the second day, the stage was a test event for the World Road Championships to be held in Qatar later this year.

Once again, the peloton split in the beginning and I got seriously caught out when we turned into the crosswind. However, I stayed calm and worked my way through the groups until we made it back to the front. The finishing circuit was a twisty 15km circuit tackled five times which ended in a bunch sprint and we helped set up my team mate (Roy Jans) for third place.

On the third day came the individual time trial of 11.3km. I settled into a hard rhythm but wasn’t fast enough I lost almost two and half minutes to eventual winner Edvald Boassan Hagen which I was a little disappointed with but in hindsight, I don’t think I could have done anything different.



On stage 4, I wanted to redeem myself after the poor performance the day before so I decided I wanted to be in the break. I was following moves at the beginning in what was a frantic start with a tail wind for the first 30km.

After following a few fruitless attacks, I found myself in a move of eight guys and we worked well to build up a lead of a maximum of two minutes. Then, after 90k, we turned into a cross tail wind and we were caught just before we hit the finishing circuit at 100km.

With the race shut down by the sprinter/GC teams, we hit a head wind section on the back of the circuit so I followed another attack and found myself once again in a break but this time in a group of four. We opened up a maximum lead of 2:30 but due to the strong headwind on the back of the 15km circuit, I was sceptical of our chances of staying away.

On the final lap, we were caught inside 10km to go as the peloton had been fractured once again by the infamous crosswinds. I hung on as long as I could but the days efforts had taken its toll.

The last day was a 114km race back along the coast to finish on the sea front in Doha. It was a nervous start as there was a strong headwind that looked for a moment like it may turn once again into cross wind. But we were lucky it stayed a strong constant headwind until we reached the ten hotdog shaped finishing laps of 5km.

Once again, my team set about setting up my team mate up for the sprint where he repeated his previous performance and finished third.

All in all, a good week and I am happy with where my fitness is at the moment.


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