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“It didn’t feel like I was going fast on the course, but I think when you suffer a lot, you don’t feel like you’re going fast. I felt good earlier in the week and it’s good to get the proof that I was going wel...

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AG2R LA MONDIALE

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ALEXANDER KRISTOFF

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DIMENSION DATA

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DMITRIY GRUZDEV

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EDVALD BOASSON HAGEN

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GREG VAN AVERMAET

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JESSE SERGENT

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JOS VAN EMDEN

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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LIEUWE WESTRA

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MANUEL QUINZIATO

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MARK CAVENDISH

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SØREN KRAGH ANDERSEN

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TEAM JUMBO-VISMA

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TEAM SUNWEB

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TOUR OF QATAR

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10.02.2016 @ 19:27 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) proved that he is back to his best after a few disappointing seasons as he crushed the oppositions in the Tour of Qatar time trial. On a short 11.4km course at the Lusail Motor Circuit, he put a massive 25 seconds into Jos van Emden (LottoNL-Jumbo) and 29 seconds into Manuel Quinziato (BMC) to take the stage win and move into the race lead with a 26-second advantage over teammate Mark Cavendish.

 

We have gathered several reactions.

 

Edvald Boasson Hagen: I didn’t feel like I was going fast

It was always known that the time trial stage of the Tour of Qatar would be pretty critical in the race for the overall general classification. Edvald Boasson Hagen was Dimension Dat’s main man for the day as the rider with the best chance of achieving a top result. Van Emden, who had finished around 30 minutes before our Norwegian champion started, had the fastest time in the finish house.

 

Boasson Hagen knew he had to try and stay above a 50km/h average over the windy and dusty course in Lusail to take the stage lead, and hopefully it would also be enough to move into the overall race lead as well. After being 11 seconds faster than Van Emden at the half way mark, Boasson Hagen really turned up the heat over the second part of the course to come home with a new fastest time of 13'26".

Nobody would come close to Boasson Hagen's time, the stage and overall race lead would go to the Norwegian star. Sweetening the deal even further for the African Team was another strong performance by Mark Cavendish. Having spent the majority of his winter training on the track in his bid for an Olympic spot, the Manxman powered himself to 7th place on the stage.

 

These results saw Cavendish slot into 2nd place behind Boasson Hagen on GC and while he gives up the gold leaders jersey to his teammate, he will now wear the silver points jersey as leader of that competition tomorrow.


”It went pretty well today, I have been feeling quite strong since earlier in the week so I had a go to try and take the victory today,” Boasson Hagen said. “I am feeling strong but also I suffered in the wind. I am just happy that it was enough to take the jersey which we will do our best to keep. 

 

“It didn’t feel like I was going fast on the course, but I think when you suffer a lot, you don’t feel like you’re going fast. I felt good earlier in the week and it’s good to get the proof that I was going well.”

 

”Today was a crucial day for the team in Qatar so for Edvald to deliver such an impressive display was all the more enjoyable to watch,” sports director Roger Hammond said. “It was a performance I will remember for a long time. We knew he was in good shape when he came here and today's time trial has proved that. There is a lot of racing still to go here but we are looking forward to the challenge.”

 

Mark Cavendish: As long as we win, it doesn’t matter

Dimension Data now occuopies the first two positions in the overall standings.

 

“I was brought up in the UK riding ten miles,” Cavendish told Cyclingweekly. “It’s something I’ve done since I was 12 years old. Normally in another race I would use it as a rest day, but I had the gold jersey.

 

“This race is far from over, but we have to be happy with this win and lead at the moment.  We are definitely in a strong position for Eddy’s overall win.

 

“As long as we win, it doesn’t matter. We’re going to try to win two more stages.”

 

Jos Van Emden: It hurt me to be beaten by 25 seconds

Jos van Emden nearly won the Tour of Qatar time trial, just overtaken by Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) who not only won stage three but took the race lead on Wednesday. The strong Team LottoNL-Jumbo rider was 25 seconds short of the Norwegian over the 11 kilometres that they rode on normal road bikes.

 

When Jos van Emden finished his race against the clock in Lusail, he had the best time. “His time was very hard to beat,” sports director Jan Boven said. “We immediately knew that he had a chance to win this time trial. It’s a pity that Boasson Hagen beat him, but Jos didn’t have a weak moment in his race. Boasson Hagen’s time is impressive. We’re fed up by this second places because we know from last year that it’s hard to win races.”

 

“I never consider myself well off, but I thought that I would have a good chance to win this time trial,” van Emden said about his second place. “When I heard that Boasson Hagen was 25 seconds faster, it hurt me. It’s always hard to be dethroned, but it proves that he’s simply the best on the other hand. I delivered a good time trial. The difference between is the power.”

 

On Thursday, the riders will cover a characteristic Qatari stage. “It’s going to be the longest and toughest day of the race,” Boven added. “We’re going through the desert in the north of the country. The roads are completely unprotected, so we have to be sharp in the wind. We have to be focused to make the first echelon. Today, we saw that everyone has a high level, so that’s a good sign.”

 

Quinziato and Van Avermaet with mixed emotions after strong BMC showing in Qatar time trial

BMC Racing Team finished with two riders inside the top five in today’s 11.4 kilometer Individual Time Trial at the Tour of Qatar, which was dominated by Edvald Boasson-Hagen (Dimension Data).

 

Powerhouse Manuel Quinziato stormed home to finish in third place, elevating him to third in the General Classification behind new race leader Boasson Hagen.

 

Van Avermaet’s fourth place has bumped him up to fourth overall on the GC, with Daniel Oss taking tenth in today’s ITT, and Michael Schär rounding out the GC in tenth place.

 

The ITT was a good indication of his current form, Quinziato said.

 

“Third in a time trial at this level is a good sign. I spent a good winter at the training camps we did. I knew I had good shape in training but you never know how’re you’re going to feel in the race and today was a good confirmation that I’m starting the season off on the right foot.

 

“We are happy. I think we are in third and fourth on GC with two stages to go, so we can still try something."

 

Van Avermaet is happy with his performance in the ITT so early in the season.

 

“I’m pretty happy with my time trial. Before last year I had never done a good time trial so I tried to do my best this year. I did the same average in terms of power as last year which was good."

 

“I think I’m fourth in the GC. I was hoping that Boasson Hagen would not be so strong and that everyone would stay at the same level so that I could have taken the jersey. It’s a little bit disappointing but it’s only the start of the season.”

 

The peloton faces a long day in the saddle tomorrow with a 189 kilometer stage from Al Zubarah Fort to Madinat Al Shamal.

 

With three riders in the top ten on GC, BMC Racing Team currently leads the Teams Classification.

 

Dmitriy Gruzdev shows great form, 472 watts not enough for Westra

"It was a short time trial but challenging, with a route that was not easy to interpret,” said Dmitriy Gruzdev.

 

Gruzdev finished in fifth position, 40 seconds behind stage winner and new race leader Edvald Boasson Hagen. 

 

“Gruzdev did a good race,” said Astana sports director Dmitriy Fofonov. It was not a simple time trial; the route was very fast, full of curves and the wind often changed direction.

 

"Overall, I am satisfied with the performance of our riders. Their condition is improving and this will allow them to do well in the next races in Europe.”

 

Astana had two riders in the top 6 as Lieuwe Westra finished sixth.

 

Satisfied with legs but with 472 watt you are not in the mix. Welcome to the pro ranks,” he tweeted after the stage.

 

Søren Kragh Andersen back in white: This was the best possible result

Søren Kragh Andersen put in a time of 14’11”at an average pace of 46.8km/h on the very technical course, only 45” behind race winner Edvald Boasson Hagen.

 

The strong performance lifted him into the lead of the pearl white jersey classification with a 14” advantage over Sven Erik Bystrøm (Team Katusha). He remains Team Giant-Alpecin highest ranked rider overall in 6th place, 48” behind the race leader.

 

Coach Marc Reef said: “The weather played an important role today with strong winds during the time trial. We applied a good pacing strategy and Søren was extremely strong.

 

“The general classification is still very close and we must be 100 percent focused on the two remaining stages.”

 

After his race, Kragh said: “The team made a plan and I was able to stick to it. I was very motivated and I had nothing left in me when I crossed the finish line. This was the best possibe result that I could have acheived.

 

“I am very happy with this result and with retaking the white jersey. This time trial performance is very satisfying especially this early in the season.”

 

Disappointed Alexander Kristoff: I was not as strong as last year

Young Nils Politt from Team KATUSHA did a very strong race and finished 11th, 51 seconds behind the ITT winner.

 

“The stage was very windy; the wind changed many times from direction during these 11km with all these corners, but for me it went all very good. I liked the race and I am happy with my performance on such a high level. Of course I would prefer to race it on a TT bike because I like it more. Anyway it was the same condition for all riders,” said Nils Politt.

 

KATUSHA’s Norwegian riders, Alexander Kristoff and Sven Erik Bystrøm, were not far from him – 15th place for Kristoff (+0.58) and 16th place for Bystrøm (+0.59).

 

“I thought I would do better today, at least as I did it last year but maybe I just missed some power. I was not bad at all today, but I wanted more. It wasn’t my best day, but it happens. Anyway, I am looking forward to next stages, still everything can happen in this race,” saidAlexander Kristoff.

 

After stage 3 the general classification of the race has three Team KATUSHA riders in top ten: Alexander Kristoff is 5th now, 45 seconds behind Boasson Hagen, Sven Erik Bystrøm is 7th, +1.02 and Viacheslav Kuznetsov is 9th, +1.10.

 

“We will not try to take the overall now,” said Kristoff. “Ok if he misses the split, then anything could happen. But there’s really only one more day in which to do something and I think he has a pretty big lead, so taking control of it would be hard.

 

“I knew I would not win the time trial but I was hoping to do a little better. I was actually a little better on this time trial last year, like maybe ten watts better, so I was a little bit disappointed. But I was not too far away from what I was expecting. A little bit underachieving maybe, but sometimes it’s like this.

 

“[The difference] wasn’t a lot, but a little bit. I was trying to keep it at 450 Watts, but I couldn’t hold it, and I exploded a little bit at the end. But that’s how it is.”

 

“I train more or less the same, and in training I was actually better this year than last year. I think some days you just have better legs than other days. Maybe it was a bit of a worse day but ten watts is a not huge amount, not a big difference.”

 

Hugo Houle and Jesse Sergent miss out on the top 10 in Qatar time trial

Ag2r had four specialists for the time trial but failed to finish in the top 10. Hugo Houle was best in 13th while Jesse Sergent was 14th.

 

”That one hurt. Had hoped for better, but missing that top end power but all in all a good hit out! 2 days of desert riding to go,” Sergent tweeted after the stage.

 

“Really happy with my ride at ITT Qatar. Just did my best watts ever but wasn't enough to be in the top10. What a strong ride by @EBhagen,” Houle tweeted.

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