Sprint Train Delivers Aidis Kruopis to Third in QatarWed 6 Feb 2013
Aidis Kruopis sprinted to third on stage three of the Tour of Qatar. Coming off the wheels of a highly organised sprint train, Kruopis’ late race acceleration looked good for the win until Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) overtook him in the final metres. Barry Markus (Vancansoleil-DCM) pipped Krupois on the line for third.
“The races here are perfect for Aidis,” said Sport Director Laurenzo Lapage. “If he can start the sprint in a good position, he always has a chance. I’m happy with what I saw from our sprint train and the way the team raced during the last hour of the stage.”
Early action included an animated first intermediate sprint before a seven rider breakaway forged clear of the bunch.
“It was a fast and nervous start like it always is here, but nothing special happened,” said Lapage. “The sprint teams and the leader’s team kept the race under control.”
BMC and Omega Pharma-QuickStep took responsibility for the chase and brought the escapees into the field’s fold during the last 30 kilometres. A punishing tempo prevented counter-attacks from slipping up the road. Allan Davis contributed to the pace-making as the rest of the team looked after Kruopis in bunch.
“We made a plan that Allan would take on the worker role once the catch had been made,” explained Lapage. “He did what we asked. Fumy Beppu was to look after Aidis and bring the rest of the team into position to start the lead out. Our train consisted of the other five riders. Brett Lancaster, Baden Cooke, Jens Keukeleire and finally Jens Mouris.”
Two kilometres from the finish, Beppu navigated the train to the front.
“We wanted to make sure we didn’t open our sprint too early today,” said Lapage. “I’m happy with our timing.”
Kruopis snagged four bonus seconds for his stage podium . The extra seconds allowed Kruopis to crack the top-20 overall where he remains the team’s best-placed rider in 19th p lace, 29 seconds behind overall leader Brent Bookwalter (BMC).