The An Post Seán Kelly team’s first big race of 2011 is set to be the Tour of Qatar and Aman in February.
Team Manager Kurt Bogaerts today confirmed that the team has received an invitation to take part.
The Tour of Qatar takes place from the 6th to the 11th of February, while the second edition of the six-stage Tour of Aman will is a week later (15th-20th)
Sixteen teams of eight riders will line-up for the Tour of Aman, including the new Pegasus Sports team, Astana, Garmin-Cervelo, Geox-TMC, Liquigas-Cannondale, Team Sky, HTC-Highroad and the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project. Big names on the start list last year included Tyler Farrar, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Tom Boonen, Daniele Bennati, Taylor Phinney and Filippo Pozzato.
The 2011 race begins with a 158km stage on the coast near the capital Muscat and then a transfer to the southern coastal town of Sur for stage 3. The finish on Jebel Akhdar is on stage four after 157km of racing and the18km time trial is on stage five. The race ends with a 157km stage from Qurayyat to the Mattrah Seafront.
“We are delighted to have received an invitation to take part in the two stage races, it’s a big honour” said Bogaerts “We had an excellent season in 2010, so it’s good to see our strong performance acknowledged in this way”
Bogaerts has yet to finalise his full team line out for 2011, and said it will be January before he can confirm the new team members, following the departure of Irish riders McConvey and O’Loughlin.
The team will finalise it’s preparations for the 2011 season with a two week training camp in Calpe, southern Spain from the 8th – 20th January.