Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung made its debut at today’s first stage of the Tour of Qatar. Covering 136 kilometers from Dukhan to Sealine Beach, the peloton had to pass the desert and to deal with the obligatory Qatar winds. The team rode attentive all day and was up there in the final with Youcef Reguigui and Theo Bos coming in 12th and 13th.
The race was just a couple of kilometers old when an early break got clear. The peloton granted Jarl Salomein (Topsport Vlaanderen) and Luca Sterbini (Bardiani-CSF) a ten minute lead but quickly reeled them back in once they reached the dessert.
In the crosswinds Edvald Boasson Hagen was one of the riders to make the jump into an elite group that split the peloton for a while. With some of the fast man being caught in the second group the chase was on. The peloton eventually came back together.
During the last hour of racing several attacks marked the situation on the front of the race. When the peloton reached Sealine Beach MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung still had a few riders up in the mix. In the end Youcef was the team’s best placed rider, closely followed by Theo. Both finished with the same time as race winner José Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) and stay in contention for the overall.
Tomorrow the race continues with a 194 kilometer stage from Al Wakra to Al Khor Corniche.