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“I saw we were coming to a turn and tried to jump up to the front before this but I couldn’t get back in the line after this and I got dropped. We still chased full gas behind and when Tom V and Bert caught me we got pretty clos...

Photo: Sirotti










09.02.2015 @ 19:24 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

A sandstorm gripped the peloton on the second stage of the Tour of Qatar as Team Giant-Alpecin just missed out on placing a rider in the select front group of 15 riders in the closing stages of the race. Tom Veelers was once again the team’s highest finisher in 25th in the second group on the road together with Nikias Arndt.


The stage was full gas from the off with winds ripping into the bunch and groups forming all over the road. The team were prepared for a hard start and did well to get nearly all eight into the front split, but as things calmed the race came back together again from behind.


After the first intermediate sprint of the day the first decisive move formed and it was here that the team was caught out, with just two riders, Arndt and Tom Stamsnijder in the front group. This group was whittled down to just 15 with first Stamsinjder then Arndt losing contact as riders were one by one spat out of the back in the crosswinds.


Bert de Backer and Veelers  were in the chase group at this point and were closing quickly on the front of the race. Arnadt managed to jump onto this group as they came past and by the finish the gap had fallen to just 15 seconds.


Up front, the stage honours went to Alexandr Kristoff (Katusha) doing the double, taking the race leader’s jersey going into tomorrow’s individual time trial.



Team Giant-Alpecin coach Marc Reef gave his reaction after the stage, saying: “From the beginning on there was a big fight and the race was flat out. Much like yesterday we were there from the beginning and well represented at the front, with the guys riding well together as a team. It settled after this though and the race came back together.


“We knew that after the first sprint would be an important point but we only managed to get two guys in the front split – two riders too few really. There were 36 riders in the front with Nikias and Stammie. Stammie had to let go first, and then Nikias after as the group got smaller and smaller. A group came back to Nikias with Tom V and Bert and they got close to catching the leaders but on the line there was still 15 seconds.”


Arndt added: “From the beginning on it was really hectic and nervous. From I think kilometre three the race split into three groups. We had several of us in the front but there was only ever around a minute gap so it was full gas for over 50km.When it eventually eased off the race came back together a group did go away.


“It started again though about 10km before the first sprint. We were not in the best position here and only Stammie and I made it into the front group. It was good to be there with two of us but we were fewer than other teams so it was always quite hard to get back into the line after turn on the front. We did the best we could and Stammie put me in a good position before he lost contact. Every five kilometres it was in the gutter – it was full gas and crazy. Around five guys would get dropped each time.


“I saw we were coming to a turn and tried to jump up to the front before this but I couldn’t get back in the line after this and I got dropped. We still chased full gas behind and when Tom V and Bert caught me we got pretty close but it was too late. At least the time gap is not too big – we will see what is coming in the next few days.”



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