Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) took the victory at the Tour of Qatar today. Kristoff got away with a group of 15 riders in the final 30km’s of racing and was able to pip Andrea Gaurdini (Astana) and Greg van Avermaet (BMC) to the line.
A frantic start to the 2nd stage of the Tour of Qatar saw echelons forming from the gun. Riders were spread all across the desert road during the first hour of racing as Etixx-Quickstep piled on the pressure during a sandstorm of note. Thankfully for some, the howling crosswind soon become more of a tailwind and a general regrouping took place with 60km completed. Johann van Zyl used this new race situation to his advantage as he jumped clear of the peloton with 4 other riders.
The quintet were able to build their lead up to 2 and a half minutes before the peleton sprung back to life and began the chase. The prevailing winds again broke the peloton apart in the chase effort, resulting in 22 riders forming at the head of the race with just less than 60km’s to go. A few riders were then shelled from the lead group, leaving just 15 in contention for the stage while the race behind was in pieces.
J.P Heynderickx – Sports Director
“Today was a horrible, horrible day. Some riders just weren’t positioned well at all today. We also had a lot of bad luck with a number of punctures. Theo was actually in a good position in a good break but had to brake when there was a crash in front of him. He lost some places and then it split up immediately after that so he was pretty upset about that. If he didn’t have that problem then he would’ve been in the front group.”