Aidis Kruopis flatted out of contention of the front group on the second stage of the Tour of Qatar. The only ORICA-GreenEDGE rider to make the reduced bunch that formed in the crosswinds, Kruopis was unable to contest the sprint won by Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step). Mat Hayman was the top finisher for ORICA-GreenEDGE in 31st place at 48”.
Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) retained the gold leader’s jersey at the end of the stressful stage. Jurgen Roelands (Lotto Belisol) took back a handful of seconds on Terpstra via intermediate sprints, reducing Terpstra’s advantage to 5”. Boonen leapt up to third overall at 14”.
The rapid start to the day at the Camel Race Track gave a preview to the carnage that would follow. Omega Pharma-Quick-Step and Tinkoff-Saxo combined forces to set an relentless tempo that didn’t allow the early break to from. Twenty five kilometres from the start Philippe Gilbert (BMC) slipped off the front with Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthCare). The duo never extended their advantage beyond a minute, and the move proved short-lived.
The pace remained high until the race hit the cross-winds when Omega Pharma-Quick-Step sent the race into the gutter and shattered the peloton. A crash just prior to the split sent riders tumbling to the ground and proved decisive in the shaping the make-up of the groups that would eventually from.
Kruopis made the cut as Jens Mouris and Svein Tuft got caught up in the crash and several others from the Australian outfit were stuck behind the fallen riders. While things looked good for the Lithuanian initially, the late race mechanical dashed his hopes for a result.
"Big splits in the bunch happened when we made a right-hand turn into the headwind at 110 kilometres. Unluckily, we were caught out because of a massive crash just before the split. Mouris and Tuft were involved. Kruopis made the first group. Jens Keukeleire and Mat Hayman found themselves in the second group. Because of the crash, the other guys were in the different group behind. In addition to the crashes, we had eight flat tyres today and against that bad luck, it’s not easy to fight back in Qatar." - Sport Director Laurenzo Lapage
|1||Tom Boonen (Bel) - Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team||3:30:07|
|2||Michael Morkov (Den) - Tinkoff-Saxo||ST|
|3||Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) - Lotto Belisol||ST|
|4||Andrew Fenn (GBr) - Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team||ST|
|5||Matti Breschel (Den) - Tinkoff-Saxo||ST|
|6||Ian Stannard (GBr) - Team Sky||ST|
|7||Niki Terpstra (Ned) - Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team||ST|
|8||Marcel Sieberg (Ger) - Lotto Belisol||ST|
|9||Lars Boom (Ned) - Belkin-Pro Cycling Team||0:00:05|
|10||Karsten Kroon (Ned) - Tinkoff-Saxo||ST|
|31||Mathew Hayman (Aus) - ORICA-GreenEDGE||0:00:48|
|41||Jens Keukeleire (Bel) - ORICA-GreenEDGE||ST|
|45||Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) - ORICA-GreenEDGE||ST|
|78||Leigh Howard (Aus) - ORICA-GreenEDGE||0:07:07|
|97||Michael Hepburn (Aus) - ORICA-GreenEDGE||ST|
|145||Brett Lancaster (Aus) - ORICA-GreenEDGE||ST|
|146||Jens Mouris (Ned) - ORICA-GreenEDGE||ST|
|147||Svein Tuft (Can) - ORICA-GreenEDGE||ST|