The Tour of Qatar reached its conclusion today when a bunch sprint saw Sam Bennett (Bora-Argon 18) winning the final stage ahead of Andrea Guardini (Astana) and Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis). Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quickstep) held on to his General Classification lead to win the Tour of Qatar overall.
Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung would end the Tour of Qatar off on a high note with Youcef Reguigui sprinting to 5th place in the capital city, Doha. Youcef was able to rely on some fine work from his MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung teammates as they rode as a unit throughout the day to ensure the Algerian was still fresh enought to give the finish a good crack.
While there were numerous attacks throughout the stage today, the 5.5km city circuit which would host the finale, always lent itself to a bunch sprint. Tinkoff-Saxo and Katusha were also adamant in ensuring a bunch sprint would decide the final stage and so all opportunists were never allowed much breathing space.
It was encouraging to see the MTN-Qhubeka sprint train gelling so well in the final few kilometers of the stage. All 6 riders were on hand in the final kilometers to assist with the leadout. Bidding their time and leaving it really late, the African team took advantage of sharp right turn just before the final km to surge to the front and drop Youcef off on the wheels of the favourites.
Youcef Reguigui – Rider
“Today was a super hard day, it was only 115km’s but it was fast. I am really happy with the team, they supported me all stage and kept me at the front of the bunch. I always had a teammate beside me the whole stage. In the last lap I was with Jaco, Gerald, Edvald and Kristian after Johann did some good work. So the whole team was there and that was why I could be in front. In the last kilometer we came from the back to the front at high speed. I just followed our wheels until I got to the wheels of Sagan and Bouhanni. I started sprinting at 400m to keep on the wheels but if I waited until 200m I could have finished on the podium. It’s okay though, I am happy about the team. Everybody rode together and we had a good understanding. If we continue to work like this MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung can win some big races.”
Jens Zemke – Head of Performance
“Today was the last day of the Tour of Qatar, being the 6th stage finishing on the Corniche. We can be satisfied with the result, 5th place in the big sprint against the world class sprinters with Youcef Reguigui. He was protected pretty well by the team today and that was our strategy. Finishing with a 5th place is a good ending to the Tour of Qatar for us, we can now look forward to the next races.”