excerpts from Tour of Qatar
Stage 4 of the Tour of Qatar ended in a bunched sprint in Mesaieed. Like on the second day of the race, Alexander Kristoff showed he was the fastest of the pack, capturing his second success of this 14th edition. The Norwegian beat Sagan and Arndt to the line. Comfortbaly positioned in the peloton, Niki Terpstra keeps hold of the overall leader’s Golden Jersey.
The picturesque site of Al Thakhira, just north of the city of Al Khor, welcomed the riders of the Tour of Qatar for the start of stage 4. After their time-trial effort yesterday, the 139 riders including new Golden Jersey Niki Terpstra took off at 11:34 for a 165.5 ride all the way to Messaieed. The wind direction remaining the same as the previous days (south, south-east), it would be a slow stage heading down south.
After 10 kilometers, despite a fast pace, three riders managed to take off: Venter (MTN), Gruzdev (AST) and Salomein (TSV). Their lead reached 3’40 as team Etixx Quickstep took control of the chase. The first intermediate sprint (km 76.5) was claimed by Salomein ahead of Venter and Gruzdev while the pack remained 3′ adrift. The pack kept good control of the escapees and slowly moved closer. The second bonus sprint (km 136.5) was this time won by Gruzdev in front of Salomein and Venter while the gap had dropped down to 1’15.
Eventually, the front three were caught by the pack with 20 kilometres to go. Fighting against the strong head wind all the way to Mesaieed, the peloton remained bunched without the slightest rider attempting a final attack. Time had come for a bunched sprint. Like on the corniche in Al Khor, Alexander Kristoff (KAT) victoriously powered to the line, beating Peter Sagan (TCS) and Nikias Arndt (TGA). Thanks to his second stage win, the Norwegian takes command of the points classification and will be wearing the Silver Jersey on tomorrow’s penultimate stage.
The overall leader’s Golden Jersey remains on the shoulders of 2014 champion Niki Terpstra, but due to a slight gap in the pack, the Dutchman looses two precious seconds on his closest rival. Indeed in the new GC, Terpstra has a 6” lead over Maciej Bodnar (TCS) and 12” over Stannard. Great Britain’s Luke Rowe (SKY) remains the best young rider and keeps his White Pearl Jersey.
Top 10 Finishers
1 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha 4:15:57
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
3 Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin
4 Adam Blythe (GBr) Orica GreenEdge
5 Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani CSF
6 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
7 Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro Team
8 Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana Pro Team
9 Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team
10 Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida
General classification after stage 4
1 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Etixx – Quick-Step 12:09:44
2 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:06
3 Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:12
4 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:19
5 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha 0:00:21
6 Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:33
7 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:37
8 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling 0:00:39
9 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team 0:00:41
10 Tom Boonen (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step 0:00:42
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