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"There were splits, regruping, more splits, crashes,... Everything! There are no climbs, but I prefer them. I would rather do the Tourmalet five times."

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ALEJANDRO VALVERDE

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JOSE JOAQUIN ROJAS GIL

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MOVISTAR TEAM

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TOUR OF QATAR

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09.02.2015 @ 20:13 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Almost one hour ahead of the original schedule proposed by the organisers, Norwegian Alexandr Kristoff (KAT) claimed victory in Al Khor and surged towards race leadership in the 14th of Qatar, after a hectic pace saw the riders cover 187km at 48.9kph average. The mixture of tail and crosswinds, joined by sandstorms hitting the bunch from the very start, turned the race into a real battle, with three huge echelon attempts breaking the big group into several pelotons.

 

Despite getting into the first two escapes, José Joaquín Rojas, supported until the end by Alejandro Valverde - who struggled in the early stages - couldn't save himself from getting dropped back in the third one, losing the golden jersey he earned with his brilliant victory on Sunday. The two Spaniards crossed the finishing line just over 3' after the reduced elite group, which takes them into the middle of the standings. The GC should start to get decided tomorrow with the 10km ITT around the Lusail Circuit.

 

"This is inhuman," Valverde told Marca. "It is crazy. In the first stage we saw that this was a bit hard, but today was... I have not seen anything like this. It's not just the wind, the sand too, you can not even breathe or anything ... Awesome."

 

"There were splits, regruping, more splits, crashes,... Everything! There are no climbs, but I prefer them. I would rather do the Tourmalet five times."

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