The former rivals both signed for Omega Pharma-QuickStep ahead of the 2013 season, Cavendish from Team Sky and Boonen from Quickstep.
Between the pair of them, they won four of out five individual stages at the 2012 race, with Boonen claiming the overall title.
Belgian Boonen has real pedigree in Qatar - he has won the title four times, the points jersey on six occasions and a total of 19 individual stages. Britain's Cavendish has four stage wins to his name.
The desert race runs from February 3 to 8.