Another Sprint Finish in Qatar

Fri 14 Feb 2014

Arnaud Démare ( won the final day of racing at Tour of Qatar while Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) finished in the bunch to take the overall victory. Aidis Kruopis, second on stage five, was unable to crack the top ten on stage six, slotting into 13th place on the Doha Corniche.

Lieuwe Westra (Astana), Jesse Sergent (Trek Factory Racing), Rafai Chtioui (Skydive Dubai), Alessandro Bazzana (Unitedhealthcare) and Marcus Burghardt (BMC) animated the early action, slipping clear of the bunch between Sealine Beach Resort and the start of the ten circuit laps around the Corniche. The escape group crossed the finish line for the first time with a 2’45 advantage. Omega Pharma – Quick-Step spent the first three-quarters of the race at the front of the peloton. They were joined by Cannondale, Lotto Belisol and ORICA-GreenEDGE in the last hour of racing.

Despite the work done by the Australian outfit during the last circuit lap, the ORICA-GreenEDGE sprint train never took shape. Other teams shared a similar issue, and with no clear lead-outs materialising, the finale proved hectic and haphazard. Démare found a way to make his way through the chaos, easily edged out Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff-Saxo) for the stage win. Bernie Eisel (Team Sky) rounded out the podium.

Comments from Laurenzo Lapage on stage six

We were not involved in the break or the early work today. On this short, fast stage, there was only a very small chance the break could make it, and I wanted to save the numbers for the finish to help Aidis in the sprint. Hepburn had a crash near the beginning. He had to chase back, but he didn’t do any damage to himself.

The sprint was hectic, and the boys lost each other in the end. There were no big trains from any team today, so it was important for the sprinters to choose a good  wheel in the finish. Aidis wasn’t in the right place when the sprint began.

Overall, I can say we had a good week with the win from Heppy and the second place and fourth place from Aidis. We lost all our chances for a good overall because of mechanical problems and crashes on stage two, but the riders reacted well in the following days.

We have four riders going to Oman: Jens Keukeleire, Jens Mouris, Leigh Howard and Michael Hepburn. They have three days to recover between the two races. We have a good team with four fresh riders coming in, and the team will be ready for another hard race.