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“We were too far back at an important part of the stage with 15km to go and missed the final because of this. We were all very motivated for today, getting back into racing and to go for the sprint with Marcel but today it didn’...

Photo: Sirotti








08.02.2015 @ 20:09 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Team Giant-Alpecin was caught out on the opening stage of the Tour of Qatar, with just Tom Veelers in the front group in the final 15km after the race split in the crosswinds. In the bunch sprint at the end of the stage, Veelers came over the line in 16th place.


The race was an typical stage in Qatar with crosswinds and little shelter on the large, wide roads in the desert. Nikias Arndt managed to pick up the extra bonus second at the first sprint of the day behind the day’s breakaway of two riders, as planned, but the final result did not go their way.


Heading into the final 20km things were looking good with all of the team in the front group. However, as the pace rose and the crosswinds started to have an effect on the peloton the team was caught out and unable to place more than one rider in a select front peloton. The split occurred at a very exposed crosswind section that the team were aware of but in the constant washing machine effect of racing in crosswinds with riders and teams constantly remounting towards the front, the team was caught out at the wrong moment.


It was a front group of 50 riders who headed into the finish at Sealine Beach after 136km of racing, and from this group José Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) came over the line first in the fast tailwind finish. Veelers was in the main cluster of riders close behind on the same time, but out of the top placings.



After the stage, Arndt admitted: “We were too far back at an important part of the stage with 15km to go and missed the final because of this. We were all very motivated for today, getting back into racing and to go for the sprint with Marcel but today it didn’t work. It’s a pity as now it will be difficult to go for the GC.”


Tom Veelers added: “When I realised that I was on my own I waited near the back of the group for the guys to come back from behind but they never made it across. This made it hard to get back to the front to sprint for the stage.”


Coach Marc Reef added: “The plan today was to sprint for Marcel with a second option of riding for Ramon. We started the day well with Nikias taking the bonus second as planned and the guys were always attentive to what was going on with the changes in direction.


“But then with 15km to go, at a point that we had identified as a danger point, the guys were too far back and got caught in the second split. Only Tom V made the front group. They fought hard behind to try and get back up to the leaders but in the end finished 30 seconds back. It’s not the result we had hoped for but there are plenty more days to come.”



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