Another Field Sprint in Qatar

Sat 9 Feb 2013

The final stage of the Tour of Qatar delivered on the projected bunch sprint where Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) took his fourth stage win to further extend his margin of victory in the general classification. ORICA-GreenEDGE again rode for Aidis Kruopis in the field sprint.

The day started off at a fast clip until Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) was caught up in a crash around the 15 kilometre mark.

“The peloton decided to slow down the pace to allow him to catch up,” noted Sport Director Laurenzo Lapage. “Because of this action during the first hour of racing, there was no early break.”

As the field made its way to Doha for 10 laps of a six kilometre loop on the Corniche, Omega Pharma-QuickStep set a fast tempo to discourage attacks. It became readily apparent that a field sprint was inevitable.

“The guys decided to move up together at one point during the last lap,” said Lapage. “After the race, they told me they didn’t choose the best moment and that they had to come from too far back to make it to the front.”

After three consecutive days of finishing in the top ten on the stage, including two podium finishes, Kruopis could only manage to slot into 20th place.

“Aidis didn’t have the same good legs he’s had here all week,” Lapage said. “He told me that after the finish.”

Although a stage win remained elusive during the six days of racing, Lapage is satisfied with what the team accomplished during the time in Qatar.

“We did good leads out, and twice Aidis came close to a stage win,” he said. “You have to keep in mind that he is sprinting against the fastest guy in the world.”

Matt Goss and Daryl Impey replace Kruopis and Allan Davis for the Tour of Oman, beginning on Monday. Sam Bewley, who missed out on the Tour of Qatar due to a stomach bug he developed before the start of stage one, will provide the team with additional firepower.