Hayman top finisher on opening stage of Tour of QatarSun 8 Feb 2015
Road captain Mathew Hayman was ORICA-GreenEDGE’s top finisher in 20th position on the first stage of the Tour of Qatar today.
Head winds made for a long and slow opening day and also one that never seriously threatened the sprint finish that was eventually won by Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar).
The team planned to set up debutant Adam Blythe for the final bunch kick, but the British rider suffered from some bad luck in his first race with the team.
“The aim was for us to make sure we had as many numbers as possible in the front group at the end of the stage and to set up the sprint for Blythe,” sport director Laurenzo Lapage said.
“We had some bad luck with Jens Keukeleire having a mechanical late in the race and Blythe being touched on his derailleur in the final and preventing his sprint but otherwise we can be happy with the team’s work.”
Two riders - Jarl Salomein (Topsport) and Luca Sterbini (Bardiani) – escaped from the peloton early in the race and were allowed to gain a maximum advantage of over eight minutes.
As the pressure was applied by the chase, the main peloton momentarily split into three groups before the race was all back together by the 85km mark.
Late attacks proved unsuccessful and the race, determined by an alert Etixx-Quickstep and Trek Factory Racing, was destined for the first stage bunch kick that eventuated.