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“There are so many turns that it’s going to be difficult for it to break up. It was windy today, and even if the group splits in a crosswind, you’ll turn into a headwind soon afterwards and you won’t be able to stay...

Photo: QCF/Paumer




15.02.2016 @ 14:40 Posted by Joseph Doherty

After stage two of the Tour of Qatar gave riders the chance to preview the Worlds road race course, riders have reacted in different ways to the course.


“I’ll need 24 hours to think about it,” BMC’s Manuel Quinziato joked to Cyclingnews. “It’s a bit different to what I’d expected. It’s a criterium, like the ones they do after the Tour de France.”


He isn’t exactly wrong, as the course doesn’t feature much straight road, with plenty of twists and turns over its 15.4km loop. There is also high crash potential with a staggering 24 roundabouts on each loop. 


The verdict on the wind factor is that there could be splits, but there isn’t enough road in one direction to keep dropped riders from getting back on later.


“There are so many turns that it’s going to be difficult for it to break up,” Quinziato said. “I mean, it was windy today, and even if the group splits in a crosswind, you’ll turn into a headwind soon afterwards and you won’t be able to stay away.”


“There’s more of a wind effect on the circuit than when I rode it easy in training, definitely,” Dimension Data’s Tyler Farrar told Cyclingnews. “Whether it will actually split the bunch on the circuit, I don’t know. But from training on it, I thought there would be more protection from the buildings than there is.”


His teammate Mark Cavendish, who won the race overall, says that he thinks it’s a hard course and riders will be hurting a lot, but there shouldn’t be splits caused by the wind.


“I don’t think the final circuit will create any splits but it’s definitely going to be uncomfortable no matter where you are in the group,” Cavendish said. “There may be a split, though I can’t see it happening, but it’s definitely going to be gnarly wherever you are in the peloton. It actually makes for quite a good World Championships.”


And the end verdict from almost all riders: the race will be decided in a bunch sprint, which is promising for Norway and Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff, who beat Cavendish to win the stage on the circuit.


“It’s complicated, very complicated. But in the end, it should be a bunch sprint, full of explosive, pure sprinters – guys like Cavendish and maybe young riders like Caleb Ewan, even though it’s a long distance,” Quinziato said. “It’s going to be hard to organise a lead-out train for that sprint. I think it will be a sprint for guys who know how to get by without a sprint train.”




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