Tour of Qatar – Win for Bennett of Ireland


Sam Bennett of Ireland has won the final stage of the Tour of Qatar, with Adam Blythe sixth. Nikki Terpstra wins the overall

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Tour of Qatar – Win for Bennett of Ireland


© QCF/Paumer/B.Bade

After a tremendous week of racing in very demanding windy conditions, the 14th edition of the Tour of Qatar was claimed by Niki Terpstra. Like a year ago, the Dutchman takes home a well deserved Golden Jersey, eventually beating Maciej Bodnar and Alexander Kristoff.

“It’s satisfying,” Terpstra said. “I came here to defend the title, or for sure go for a good placement. The time trial went so well that I was in the lead, and the team did a great job to defend my leadership for the rest of the stage race.”

“I was a bit nervous before the start because if Kristoff had a really good day, and he was doing well so far with three stage wins already, he could still pass me with the bonus seconds, but he didn’t get that.”

“The guys made Katusha work hard so they were tired, and in the end Kristoff was unable to win the sprint and take the 10 bonus seconds at the finish line. So, I took the win and I am happy. Between my two GC victories, they were both tough”.

“It’s never easy to win. I have good condition now and knowing this gives me confidence for my next races. Winning at Tour of Qatar has become a bit of a tradition for the team. Look at the team we had this year, and we even won the Team Classification. Matteo Trentin was the ‘smallest’ guy on the team here, and he is actually not so small”.

“We bring big, strong guys who are specialists in the windy conditions at Tour of Qatar and it shows every year. We have experience, and we know the roads here. It’s a bit special. It’s an important race for the team, so it’s an important race for me”.

“But really, every professional bike race is important for the team. I go to the start line taking every race as seriously as the one before and the one next. Sometimes the roads at Tour of Qatar seem really long, but the race is going too fast and it is too chaotic to ever consider this race boring. It isn’t the parcours that dictates the race”.

“The riders and the conditions dictate how a race will go, and at Tour of Qatar it is always full of action. I look to the next races with the understanding that each one deserves full attention, just as this one did for me and the team. For now I will celebrate this Tour of Qatar Gold jersey on my back, and I want to thank my teammates for making sure I took it home for the second straight season.”

Win for Ireland and Sam Bennett

The final stage of the event ended, as expected, by a bunch sprint on the Doha Corniche. Irishman Sam Bennett flew to his first ever stage success, beating Guardini and Bouhanni to the line.

Sam Bennett: “I’m absolutely delighted with the win. The first win of the season is always the hardest and to get it while racing against the world’s best makes it that bit more sweeter. The team did a fantastic job today and all week. I would like to thank them!”

At the start of the final stage of the 2015 Tour of Qatar, there was still a lot at stake in the different standings of the event. Wearing the Golden Jersey, like a year ago at the Sealine Beach Resort was Niki Terpstra (EQS) but the Dutchman had serious pressure on his shoulders, having only a slim 6’’ lead over Maciej Bodnar (TCS) and 11’’ over three-time stage winner Alexander Kristoff (KAT).


Gold for Niki Terpstra (centre) © QCF/Paumer/B.Bade

While Alejandro Valverde (MOV) had decided to call it quits before the final stage, the 132 remaining riders took off at 1:32 for a 113.5kms ride, heading north to the Doha Corniche.

As soon as the first kilometre, four riders broke away : Burghardt (BMC), Van Hecke (TSV), Boem and Pirazzi (BAR). Their lead grew rapidly and reached 1’10 at km 10. But the Katusha team then took command of the pack and started chasing, having in mind the bonus seconds up for grabs at the intermediate sprints.

After their long ride north and after enjoying a maximum 2’05 lead, the front four reached the final circuit around the Doha Corniche and crossed the finish line for the first time (at km 56.5) with a 38’’ advantage. That gap had dropped to 22’’ at the second crossing of the line. Burghardt, Van Hecke and Boem were the first three to be caught by the pack, while Pirazzi carried on alone. The Italian was finally caught at km 68 just after the third passage on the line.

Time had come for the big teams to prepare for the first intermediate sprint at the 4th corssing of the line (km 68). Tom Boonen (EQS) went on to capture the win just ahead of Kristoff (KAT) and Trentin (EQS). Thanks to his 2 bonus seconds Kristoff virtually moved within 9” of the overall lead, meaning that if he won the stage and Terpstra finished outside of the top 3, the Norwegian would win the 2015 event.

At km 77, two riders took off in the lead: Keisse (EQS) and Van Hoecke (TSV). Their advantage over the pack reached 52” at the 6th crossing of the line. At the second bonus sprint (7th crossing) won by Keisse ahead of Van Hoecke, the pack led out by Declercq (TSV) remained 45” adrift. The escapees were finally caught at km 93 with over two laps to go. Despite attempts from the Tinkoff Saxo team to break the pack apart, the peloton remained together all the way to the finish line.

In a bunch sprint, Sam Bennett (BOA) flew to an impressive stage victory. The Irishman captured his first ever success in Qatar, beating Guardini (AST) and Bouhanni (COF) to the line. Finishing in the pack, in 25th position, Niki Terpstra went on to conquer the overall victory.

A year after his first win on the Tour, the Dutchman conquers a second crown. In the final GC, the 2014 Paris-Roubaix champion wins with a 6” lead over Bodnar and 9” over Kristoff who has to settle for the Silver jersey (points classification winner). Sixth of the event, Peter Sagan (TCS) wins the best young riders White Pearl Jersey while Etixx Quickstep finishes best team of this 14th edition.

1. Sam Bennett, Bora-Argon 18 2:24:03
2. Andrea Guardini, Astana Pro Team
3. Nacer Bouhanni, Cofidis, Solutions Credits
4. Peter Sagan, Tinkoff-Saxo
5. Youcef Reguigui, MTN – Qhubeka
6. Adam Blythe, Orica GreenEdge
7. Matteo Trentin, Etixx – Quick-Step
8. Tom Boonen, Etixx – Quick-Step
9. Jasper Stuyven, Trek Factory Racing
10. Jose Joaquin Rojas, Movistar Team

19. Alexander Kristoff, Team Katusha
22. Edvald Boasson Hagen, MTN – Qhubeka
25. Niki Terpstra, Etixx – Quick-Step
33. Andrew Fenn, Team Sky
34. Ian Stannard, Team Sky
35. Philippe Gilbert, BMC Racing Team
39. Luke Rowe, Team Sky
60. Zakkari Dempster, Bora-Argon 18
104. Bradley Wiggins, Team Sky 0:00:56
126. Scott Thwaites, Bora-Argon 18 0:02:54

1. Niki Terpstra, Etixx – Quick-Step 17:36:48
2. Maciej Bodnar, Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:06
3. Alexander Kristoff, Team Katusha 0:00:09
4. Ian Stannard, Team Sky 0:00:12
5. Greg Van Avermaet, BMC Racing Team 0:00:19
6. Peter Sagan, Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:31
7. Luke Rowe, Team Sky 0:00:33
8. Heinrich Haussler, IAM Cycling 0:00:39
9. Tom Boonen, Etixx – Quick-Step
10. Andriy Grivko, Astana Pro Team 0:00:41

Young Rider
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo 17:37:19
2 Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:02

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