Aidis Kruopis Sprints to Fourth in MesaieedWed 12 Feb 2014
Aidis Kruopis narrowly missed the podium on the fourth stage of the Tour of Qatar. The Lithuanian sprinter crossed the line in fourth place as Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) piped André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) on the line for the stage win. Barry Markus (Belkin) claimed the final step on the podium.
A fast and furious tempo from the gun proved the most decisive factor of the day. The peloton averaged a leg-breaking 56.8 kilometres/hour. The high pace combined with the usual winds wreaked havoc on the bunch, which split multiple times throughout the day. With seven representatives in a group of around 50 riders, ORICA-GreenEDGE had a strong presence in the front group after the early split. By the finish, five of the seven remained amongst the leaders to assist Kruopis in the sprint.
Comments from Laurenzo Lapage on stage four:
We worked with Quick-Step to make the early split happen. Except for Howard, we had all of our riders in the first group. Later on we lost Mouris in the front because of a puncture.
Hepburn, Lancaster, Keukeleire and Hayman all did great work in the final. They did the train for Aidis, who ended the day in fourth.
I saw the team working together from the start today. That is so important in these races. We showed yesterday that as a team, we can compete with the best riders here. We raced more aggressively today compared with the first two days, and we had a better result. If you see the top two were Boonen and Greipel, I think we can be happy with fourth. We have two more days to try it again.