• Mark Renshaw could be a key player for Australia at the 2016 UCI Road World Championships (Sirotti)Source: Sirotti
Mark Renshaw has likened the course for the 2016 UCI Road World Championships in Doha to a criterium after racing over part of it at the Tour of Qatar on Tuesday.
Sophie Smith

Cycling Central
10 Feb 2016 - 9:12 AM  UPDATED 10 Feb 2016 - 1:50 PM

The 33-year-old got an insight into the finishing circuit around The Pearl-Qatar during the second stage Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) won ahead of Renshaw’s teammate Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) and Roy Jans (Wanty-Groupe Gobert).

The circuit features more than 20 roundabouts, tight turns and is in areas exposed to the wind that Renshaw has predicted will make for an incredible event.

Kristoff beats Cavendish and a crash to win in Qatar
Alexander Kristoff edged our Mark Cavendish and Roy Jans in a crash marred bunch sprint to clinch the second stage of the Tour of Qatar.

“It’s going to be not like any race we’ve ever seen before,” he observed post-race. “I think it’s going to be a big criterium with the constant corners, roundabouts, the chance of wind and accelerations.”

The flat men’s title road race on October 16 has been tipped to suit the real fast men, however, Renshaw said tactics and technicalities of the course could spoil a bunch sprint finish.

“The first two circuits we do will be really quite hard to stay together,” the former Tour of Qatar champion said.

“We’ll probably see attacking racing I think in the final and even from the start if the wind is there. Big countries like Belgium and, you know, riders that are good here will try and break it up early.

“I don’t know what kind of racer (may win) to be honest. It could be a sprint but it could be arriving in ones and twos.”

Stage two of the Tour of Qatar on Tuesday doubled as a test event for the Worlds and incorporated the finishing circuit national teams are set canvas after about a 75km run in from Sealine.

Renshaw has not spoken to national team selectors but has aspirations to be at the start and play an important role within the squad as a lead-out specialist.

“I’d like to be there, I expect to be there,” Renshaw said. “I don’t see anyone else that does my role as well as me so we’ll see what they (selectors) come up with.”

UCI President Brian Cookson and Head of Road Matthew Knight travelled to Doha for the almost test event. Knight said the international governing body may suggest some minor tweaks to stakeholders but he was otherwise impressed.

“We will be speaking to the teams and riders to get their feedback as well but we’re very positive about what we saw today,” Knight said.

“There may be one or two minor points within the actual flow of the course, if there is any need for any roadworks to possibly change the profile of a turn or two but it brings out a very technical, challenging course,” he continued.

“It’s flat so suited for sprinters but very technical so the teams and team strategy at road world championships will play into that throughout the race and road world championships. I think it will make for exciting racing.”

The championships will be held a month later than the traditional September time slot this season in consideration of local temperatures that are especially high then. Both factors also stand to add to the dynamics of the title races.