Tour of Qatar: Niki Terpstra wins the overall, Démare the stage


Arnaud Démare sprinted to sprint victory on the final stage of the 2014 Tour of Qatar While, Niki Terpstra wins his first ever Tour of Qatar ahead of Tom Boonen with Ian Stannard 4th.

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Tour of Qatar: Niki Terpstra wins the overall, Démare the stage


Photo: ©ASO/B. Bade

Like two years when he captured his first ever professional victory on the Doha Corniche, Arnaud Démare flew to a fantastic sprint victory on the final stage of the 2014 Tour of Qatar. The Frenchman managed to beat Daniele Bennati and Bernhard Eisel to the line. Niki Terpstra won his first ever Tour of Qatar ahead of Tom Boonen and Jurgen Roelandts. Ian Stannard was 4th.

As the 147 remaining riders of the Tour of Qatar gathered to the start at the Sealine Beach Resort, south of Qatar, Golden Jersey Niki Terpstra (OPQ) could enjoy a comfortable 17” lead in the general classification over team mate Tom Boonen. The Dutchman knew that he didn’t have a lot to worry about on the day’s 113.5-km stage that would finish on a circuit around the Doha Corniche.

In fairly warm and sunny conditions, it took just a few metres for the first attacks to occur. Indeed five men powered away in the first kilometre: Sergent (TFR), Burghardt (BMC), Westra (AST), Bazzana (UHC) and Chtioui (SKD). The front five were not a threat for overall victory and pulled away progressively.

The gap indeed went from 1’20 at km 7 to a maximum 2’50 at km 35. As they entered the final 6-km circuit, the leading group enjoyed a 2’30 advantage at the crossing of the line. The gap however dropped down to 51” at the first intermediate sprint (km 73.5, 4th crossing of the line), claimed by Chtioui ahead of Sergent and Westra.

While the peloton led by the Omega Pharma – Quickstep, Lotto – Belisol and Orica – Greenedge kept the escapees within bridging distance, the gap moved back up to 1’55 at the second bonus sprint (km 90.5, 7th crossing of the line) that Wetsra won ahead of Sergent and Burghardt. The strong men at the front hung on to the lead all the way to the last lap and were eventually caught just before the final 1km mark.

140214 OPQS Qatar Stage 6- Final Podium ©Tim De Waele

Podium for Tour of Qatar – Tom Boonen, Niki Terpstra &  Jurgen Roelandts. Photo OPQS/Tim de Waele

In the bunch sprint, there was a different name at the top of the result sheet, Arnaud Démare (FDJ) flew to an impressive victory, beating to the line Daniele Bennati (TCS) and Bernie Eisel (SKY). Winner of his first ever victory as a professional rider at the end of his first ever stage race, the 2012 Tour of Qatar, the 22-year-old Frenchman triumphed again on the Doha Corniche.

The other man of the day was Niki Terpstra. After first capturing the Golden Jersey on day 1 of the event when he won in Dukhan, the Dutchman managed to hang on to the overall leadership all the way to the finish of the Tour. The 29-year old wins his first major stage race, beating Tom Boonen by 17” and Jurgen Roelandts by 20”.

Winner of two stages on this 13th edition (22 stage wins in Qatar), Boonen won the Points’ classification (Silver Jersey) while his team mate Guillaume Van Keirsbulck finished in the best young rider’s jersey. Impressive through out the Tour of Qatar, Omega Pharma – Quickstep are crowned best team.

“Finally I made it,” Terpstra said. “I’m very happy about this victory because it was stressful for me. The last few days maybe a little bit less so, but with the wind in the desert it was a bit difficult. I was so happy today when I crossed the line. To me, it’s important because it’s the first time in my career that I won a short stage race. I was already on the podium of Eneco Tour, Three Days of De Panne, and other races. But, this is quite a new experience. I learned a lot this week”.

140214 OPQS Qatar Stage 6- Podium Terpstra ©Tim De Waele

Photo OPQS/Tim de Waele

“After my Stage 1 victory, for the rest I had to follow the guys. They stayed as calm as possible and I really counted on a great team here. Everybody was at a top level and you can see it in the final classifications results with the whole team. The general classification, the jerseys, and even our results each stage.”

“We were really a factor throughout the race. My form is actually good, but not at the top yet. April is still far away and that is where I have to be in top condition to support Tom, who is our leader for the Classics. Concerning the rest of the program, I will go to Oman. It is a bit of a different race, but I will try to take advantage of this condition and pay back my teammates for their performance here by supporting the team there.”

Van Keirsbulck won the White ‘Pearl’ Jersey as best young rider on his birthday. “For me this is a very special day,” Van Keirsbulck said. “To win this jersey means a lot to me, and it’s the best birthday present.”

“I did a lot of training in Argentina and I’m really happy it paid off. Also, you could see we had a very strong team. Everybody was ready to make this Tour of Qatar a great collective performance. I’m really happy with my work for the team at Tour of Qatar, and I only hope I can continue on this level for the next races. I’m really looking forward to it.”

As its success in 2012, launching his career, caused a sensation, as it was expected as it is already part of World Top sprinters. Since the beginning of the week, Arnaud said he had a good feeling and does nothing prohibited. He has lost his teammates in the last corner, 1.4 km from the finish, he was able to fend for full sprint center and win easily. Just a confirmation.

140214 OPQS Qatar Stage 6-best team podium ©Tim De Waele

Photo OPQS/Tim de Waele

Arnaud Démare said of the sprint win, “It is not a surprise! I have good legs since the beginning of the week. Here, it is difficult with the wind, with all the teams very well organized but I knew I could manage it. This morning we decided to stay quiet until two laps to go and work at the beginning of the last lap. This is where it all happened. Murilo (Fischer) and Laurent (Mangel) did a very good job. Then Yoann (Offredo) remained behind me with Mika (Delage) to protect me. They were lost in the last corner but I managed on my own. I’m happy. I started well in the wheel of Saxo-Tinkoff, I took advantage of a small mistake and I won …”

“In this season, in my head I prefer the classics. Last year it was to learn. Now I know what awaits me, I know what I have to do. Besides, I’ve already started … In the head I know where I’m going. I think of the classic but the desire to win is permanent, in all races. Here in Qatar, next week in the Algarve, I need to lift my arms. You set objectives because it is not possible to be fit all season. Mine is to know my peak form for Gent-Wevelgem, Paris-Roubaix but it does not mean that I will not try to win before and after.”

“The dream is to one day win the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, the two most beautiful classics on the calendar. But I can not say I’ll get there this year. In the Tour of Flanders, there is never any surprises and Paris-Roubaix, it would be nice to get in the Top 10 or in group and win. In any case, my season is well underway.”

1 DéMARE Arnaud 02:45:06
2 BENNATI Daniele Tinkoff-Saxo
3 EISEL Bernhard Team Sky
4 BOONEN Tom Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
5 HAEDO Lucas Sebastian Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team
6 DILLIER Silvan BMC Racing Team
7 GUARDINI Andrea Astana Pro Team
8 BENNETT Sam Team NetApp – Endura
9 LANDER Sebastian BMC Racing Team
10 RUFFONI Nicola Bardiani – CSF

11 VIVIANI Elia Cannondale
23 BOS Theo Belkin-Pro Cycling Team
29 BOOM Lars Belkin-Pro Cycling Team
42 FENN Andrew Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
49 GREIPEL André Lotto Belisol
50 STANNARD Ian Team Sky
53 GILBERT Philippe BMC Racing Team
84 DEMPSTER Zakkari Team NetApp – Endura
138 ROWE Luke Team Sky @ 1.37
144 THWAITES Scott Team NetApp – Endura 02:53

1 TERPSTRA Niki Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 15:53:37
2 BOONEN Tom Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 00:17
3 ROELANDTS Jurgen Lotto Belisol 00:20
4 STANNARD Ian Team Sky 00:37
5 MøRKøV Michael Tinkoff-Saxo 00:48
6 SIEBERG Marcel Lotto Belisol 00:56
7 VAN KEIRSBULCK Guillaume Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 00:57
8 VANDENBERGH Stijn Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 01:05
9 FENN Andrew Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 01:18
10 GREIPEL André Lotto Belisol 01:23
13 GILBERT Philippe BMC Racing Team 01:33
15 DéMARE Arnaud 01:43
33 DEMPSTER Zakkari Team NetApp – Endura 04:05
36 BOOM Lars Belkin-Pro Cycling Team 04:18
47 ROWE Luke Team Sky 07:25
67 CANCELLARA Fabian Trek Factory Racing 12:16
77 THWAITES Scott Team NetApp – Endura 16:11
83 VOSS Paul Team NetApp – Endura 17:42

Young Rider
1 VAN KEIRSBULCK Guillaume Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 15:54:34
2 FENN Andrew Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 0:21
3 DéMARE Arnaud 0:46

8 ROWE Luke Team Sky 6:28
9 BENNETT Sam Team NetApp – Endura 8:09

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