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“The team were going for CJ (Sutton) and Bernie was quite far back and seemed out of contention, but suddenly his group moved up and he ended up coming third which was a nice result," DS Knaven says

Photo: Sirotti








14.02.2014 @ 19:20 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Bernhard Eisel's time as a sprinter may have ended several years ago but today the Austrian returned to his former role when he ended 3rd in the bunch sprint on the final day of the Tour of Qatar. However, the result wasn't planned and came almost by accident.


Ian Stannard finished the Tour of Qatar in fourth place overall while Bernhard Eisel produced a turn of pace to take third on the final stage. Closing ground all the way to the line, Eisel ghosted through a gap to claim third as the race came to a close in Doha - Arnaud Demare (FDJ) prevailing in a mass sprint finish.


Team Sky hedged their bets in the final kilometre with Chris Sutton and Stannard sitting in the wheel of stage five winner Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) and the German’s lead-out train. But with a shorter distance to the finish on the right-hand side of the road it was Demare who swept through to take victory, holding off Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Eisel to open his account for the season.


The battle for the gold jersey was also decided with Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) taking overall glory ahead of team-mate Tom Boonen. Taking a lead of 17 seconds into the final day, Terpstra just had to stay upright and out of trouble to claim victory, with Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Belisol) 20 and Stannard 37 seconds behind respectively.


Eisel's result was a surprise for Sky sports director Servais Knaven.


“It was a bit wild at the end," he said. "The sprint split into two groups, one on the left and one on the right, and one group ended up going faster than the other! “The team were going for CJ (Sutton) and Bernie was quite far back and seemed out of contention, but suddenly his group moved up and he ended up coming third which was a nice result. The wind also played a factor too with a cross-head-wind at the end.


“Ian also got his fourth on the GC which was a good result. Everybody has felt better every day during the race. It’s been a good week for the guys to build up their form and everyone is getting ready for the Classics. There’s still a long way to go but this race is always a good start. You have to suffer a lot.”

Team Sky's adventure in the Middle East will continue in the Tour of Oman where a completely different team will look to support Chris Froome as he tries to defend last year's victory.



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