One of the nice things about being a sports fan in Qatar is that the Qataris pay a lot of money for big-time sporting events that fairly few people attend. This means that the athletes have their guards down around the fans since they're not really swarmed. Since I moved here I've brushed shoulders with Lee Westwood on his way from the 9th to the 10th tees at the Qatar Masters golf tournament, sat five feet away from Greg Gaultier and Karim Darwish during the Doha Classic squash tournament, sat fifteen feet away from Serena Williams at a tennis tournament and walked along the pit row of an unlimited hydroplane boat race.
Today I finally managed to get down to the Tour of Qatar. While my blackberry camera chose to malfunction right when the racers crossed the line, I still managed to get a few other pictures. If I was more of a stalker of a mind to, I probably could have gotten a ton of autographs.
Photos across the jump.
This is the peloton, straining hard to catch the two man breakaway.
Talk about access! If I wanted to, I could have stuck out my arm and clotheslined half the peloton. As it was, I settled for this picture.
Renshaw taking time to talk to the media. It was pretty clear that he was not used to being the center of attention.
I have to say, the beard looks better in person than it does on film. The picture doesn't show it, but that fall he took the other day looked to be pretty gnarly, based on the bandages he had on his leg.
Some Belgian guy.
Wiggo = tall.
Flecha just oozes a vibe that says, "I'm badass."
...and the Garvelos, chilling on the corniche. Once they leave, their place will be taken by several Pakistani laborers.