Sat, Sep 26, 2015 - Page 18 News List

Heat will not be a problem at Doha worlds: organizers

AFP, RICHMOND, Virginia

For all the concern about severe heat in staging the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, organizers of next year’s UCI Road World Championships in Doha have no such worries.

Officials revealed course details on Thursday for next year’s Oct. 8 to Oct. 16 event in Qatar, the first staging of the event in the Middle East, and said plans have been made for extra water stations to combat dehydration.

Average October high temperatures in the Doha area run between 34oC and 40oC, with the monthly average high near 39oC.

“There shouldn’t be a major heat concern,” organizing committee chairman Sheikh Khalid bin Ali al-Thani said.

“What’s most important is the safety of the riders,” he added in remarks at this year’s road worlds. “There’s no danger for their health.

“The temperatures will be a little warm in October. We are taking extra precautions. We’ll have extra water. We’re going to provide more water stations,” al-Thani said.

World Cup officials shifted the 2022 event to the November-December time frame over major heat worries in Qatar, with air-conditioned stadiums under construction to ease fears the desert nation would be too sweltering.

“We’re not air-conditioning,” said John Lelangue, technical operations director for next year’s worlds.

“We’re not expecting so much heat. We’ll be top temperatures 34, 36, 38, 40 degrees. It will be hotter than in Belgium, but we will have been racing all around the year in other countries. There are no worries in this regard. October is a nice month,” Lelangue said.

While temperatures could rival those for European events in hotter months, there will be no mountain climbs on offer in Qatar, although brisk winds could foil the plans of sprinters on the flat course.

“Visitors can expect temperatures no higher than the Tour de France,” 70-year-old Belgian cycling legend Eddy Merckx said.

In addition, male riders have competed in the Tour of Qatar since 2002 and women since 2009. The January to February event has slightly cooler conditions, but plenty of familiar challenges like the wind.

“Unfortunately, I can’t do anything about the wind. It’s part of the race. The wind is the wind for everybody,” Lelangue said.

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