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“I raced in Qatar four years ago and that was the start of a great season. I think it's the right race for my official start in the Tinkoff-Saxo jersey. I look forward to start racing there”. 

Photo: Tinkoff-Saxo

CHRISTOPHER JUUL-JENSEN

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MACIEJ BODNAR

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MATTI BRESCHEL

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MICHAEL MØRKØV

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NIKOLAI TRUSSOV

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PETER SAGAN

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TOUR OF QATAR

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05.02.2015 @ 23:37 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Tinkoff-Saxo sends an ambitious line-up to Tour of Qatar spearheaded by Peter Sagan, who’s starting his maiden race in the Tinkoff-Saxo jersey. The star studded 2015-edition of the fast paced, sprinter’s race features six stages in flat terrain and the constant fight for positioning in the crosswinds will most likely turn the race into a tough affair with Tinkoff-Saxo looking for early season success.
 
Consequently, Tinkoff-Saxo is bringing a squad of powerful riders. Peter Sagan will lead the team backed by Maciej Bodnar, Matti Breschel, Michael Mørkøv, Pavel Brutt, Christopher Juul-Jensen, Ivan Rovny and Nikolay Trusov. Leading sport director Tristan Hoffman expects to see a hectic race, where Tinkoff-Saxo will play an active role.
 
“Peter Sagan is our team leader and we’ll support him 100 percent. Tour of Qatar is a special race for him and the team as it marks his debut for Tinkoff-Saxo. We got a very strong team also taking into account the seriousness with which the guys have prepared. No doubt that Peter has a good chance in the fight for stage wins and the 10km time trial also makes the GC quite interesting for us”, explains Tristan Hoffman, whose enthusiasm is backed by Peter Sagan:
 
“I raced in Qatar four years ago and that was the start of a great season. I think it's the right race for my official start in the Tinkoff-Saxo jersey. I look forward to start racing there”.

Strong lead-out for Sagan
Tour of Qatar has been a part of the race calendar since 2002 and has predominantly been a sprinter’s race. This year is no different. Five out of six stages favor the fast men of the peloton. Tristan Hoffman is confident in the team’s setup, where Peter Sagan will be the final rider in the yellow-fluo colored lead-out train.
 
“Looking at our squad, I think we have a strong lead-out if a stage turns into a classic sprinter’s duel. All the guys are capable of setting a very high pace - and in especially Michael Mørkøv and Matti Breschel, who finished 2nd overall in 2005, we have two really fast riders to do the lead-out for Peter”, says Tristan Hoffman and adds:
 
“However, there’s a high risk that the crosswinds will split up the peloton as Qatar is generally a quite windy race with long open stretches. We have to ride the race from the front and act in the wind instead of reacting”.  
 
TT could prove decisive
Stage 3 sees the riders race against the clock in the 10,9km individual time trial at the racetrack Lusail Circuit. This could very well mean that the overall win will go to a time trial or prologue specialist. According to Hoffman, Tinkoff-Saxo has several options:
 
“Of course, Peter Sagan does a great time trial. But we need to keep our opportunities open. Maciej Bodnar is a three-time national TT champion and really strong against the clock. We’ll keep Breschel and Bodnar in a protected role for the first stages and see how everything plays out at the time trial”.

Tour of Qatar is considered an important and ideal lead-up to the northern classics as the riders will encounter the same high-speed fight for positioning as during the classics – however under warmer conditions. The race also gives the riders an opportunity to see the 2016 World Championships route set to take place in Doha, where Tour of Qatar finishes on stage six.

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