Qatar: Aussie Hepburn wins, Terpstra Holds on to lead


Australian time-trial champion this year, Michael Hepburn took the scalps of many a star in winning the Time Trial stage in Tour of Qatar. Niki Terpstra keeps his overall leader’s Golden Jersey.

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The Queenslander Hepburn covered the 10.9km course in 13’28, averaging 47.971 kilometres/hour. Lars Boom (Belkin) posted the second quickest time, 1” slower than Hepburn. Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff-Saxo) was 6” further adrift in third place. Ian Stannard was 11th and climbed to 5th overall.


Hepburn on his way to a powerful victory. Photo: ©ASO/B. Bade

“It’s unbelievable,” said Hepburn. “Right from the start, it was a really proud moment to ride in the national colours for the first time. I rode early in the race, so I had to wait awhile to see what my time would get me. Towards the end, when I realised that maybe I would win, the nerves really started to pick up.”

“In the last couple weeks, I have done a few training sessions specific to this stage,” Hepburn added. “My main objective was a good, solid ride. I wasn’t really thinking about a specific place. In the back of my mind, I guess I thought if I did a good ride today, a top five would be possible. There are some big names here. I’m pretty stoked to finish on the top.”

The wind-swept, snake-shaped course featured several different changes in direction. Riders started with a crosswind, finished with a headwind and had a cross-tailwind between the two. Hepburn posted a negative split, completing the second half of the race faster than the first.

“It was very windy out there,” said Hepburn. “The gusts were around 25 kilometres/hour. The first couple kilometres into the headwind were slow. The next couple kilometres were much quicker. All the time was made or lost in the final three kilometres when we had a headwind.”

The reigning world champion in the individual pursuit likened a short time trial to his efforts on the track. With specific preparation for the stage, he felt confident in his ability to produce a strong ride; however, it was unclear how his strong ride would compare to the likes of Boom, Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) and Ian Stannard (Team Sky).

“I knew exactly what I had to do,” said Hepburn. “I had a clear idea of the power I had to produce, and I was confident I could do that. I’m in good condition for a 10 kilometre time trial. A race of this length is similar to the individual pursuit. You just have to be smooth. I wouldn’t say any one thing went right. I just did what I had the confidence that I could do – and it got me the win in the end.”

Favourite Fabian Cancellara said after the time trial on road bikes, “I am satisfied with the first kilometres, but the last three kilometers were pretty hard. I am feeling the race days, this is the seventh straight day, and I think my normal power was missing. 10K is a short intensity,” Cancellara continued.

“It is not like 160 or 200K. I know where I am at; I believe in the team, I believe in myself. We had bad luck yesterday and sometimes you begin to see negative things from that. But that is sport. As long as we stay healthy, and not crash, that is the most important.”

“At this race you must be at the very front, you have to be 100 percent focused and prepared if you want to win. As a team we did not come here with those specific goals. We know what we are doing, we know where we have come from, and what we want to achieve. We are here to begin to grow towards our specific goals later.”

Former Tour of Britain winner Lars Boom moved up to third overall thanks to a strong time trial, finishing a second too short for the victory, which went to Michael Hepburn of Orica-GreenEdge. “I was very relaxed going into this time trial,” said Boom. “I didn’t put myself under any extra pressure and it worked. I started off well and don’t think I could have gone any faster.”

The peloton had to leave their time trial bikes at home so the Belkin team came up with a special trick for its riders: extra tape wrapped around the tops of the handlebars on their Bianchi Oltre XR2 bikes. “That way I was able to bend over a little bit more,” said Boom. “I think it’s important to keep an open-mind during this race and just go as deep as possible every day,” added Boom. “It would be nice if I can keep my third place, though. I’m going to check the weather forecast so when it comes to the weather and wind, I’ll be completely up to date at the start.”

Third placed rider Daniele Bennati meanwhile was surprised by his ride. “Unfortunately, I was feeling a bit under the weather the first few days of the race and because of that I gave everything to lead out Michael (Mørkøv) in yesterday’s finale and I lost a little time overall on the final kilometre. So I really didn’t think I was able to go this fast today but this is perfect for the moral and let’s see what the rest of the race brings”.

Stage Result
1 HEPBURN Michael Orica GreenEDGE 13:28
2 BOOM Lars Belkin-Pro Cycling Team @ 0:01
3 BENNATI Daniele Tinkoff-Saxo @ 0:06
4 CANCELLARA Fabian Trek Factory Racing
5 TERPSTRA Niki Omega Pharma – Quick-Step @ 0:08
6 ELMIGER Martin IAM Cycling @ 0:10
7 VAN KEIRSBULCK Guillaume Omega Pharma – Quick-Step @ 0:13
8 GILBERT Philippe BMC Racing Team v0:15
9 MOURIS Jens Orica GreenEDGE @ 0:16
10 STEEGMANS Gert Omega Pharma – Quick-Step @ 0:17

11 STANNARD Ian Team Sky @ 0.17
13 SERGENT Jesse Trek Factory Racing @ 0:19
15 BOONEN Tom Omega Pharma – Quick-Step @ 0.22
24 GREIPEL André Lotto Belisol @ 0 :31
39 ROWE Luke Team Sky @ 0:40
52 FENN Andrew Omega Pharma – Quick-Step @ 0:48
95 DEMPSTER Zakkari Team NetApp – Endura @ 1.12
114 THWAITES Scott Team NetApp – Endura @ 1.21
134 BENNETT Sam Team NetApp – Endura @ 1:40

1 TERPSTRA Niki Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 06:57:06
2 ROELANDTS Jurgen Lotto Belisol 00:21
3 BOOM Lars Belkin-Pro Cycling Team 00:24
4 BOONEN Tom Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 00:28
5 STANNARD Ian Team Sky 00:35
6 VAN KEIRSBULCK Guillaume Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 00:45
7 MøRKøV Michael Tinkoff-Saxo 00:49
8 SIEBERG Marcel Lotto Belisol
9 VANDENBERGH Stijn Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 00:58
10 FENN Andrew Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 01:06

Young Rider
1 VAN KEIRSBULCK Guillaume Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 06:57:51
2 FENN Andrew Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 00:21
3 DéMARE Arnaud 00:47

7 ROWE Luke Team Sky 02:11


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