Tour of Qatar 2016: Alexander Kristoff brings to KATUSHA first win of the season

Tour of Qatar 2016: Alexander Kristoff brings to KATUSHA first win of the season

09.02.2016: In a very windy day, Alexander Kristoff brought to Team KATUSHA the first victory




In a very windy day, Alexander Kristoff brought to Team KATUSHA the first victory of the season, winning stage 2 of the Tour of Qatar. In the final bunch sprint Kristoff overpassed Mark Cavendish from Team Dimension Data and Roy Jans from Wanty – Groupe Gobert. Viacheslav Kuznetsov finished 10th.


- It was a little uphill here at the finish. It suited me quite well. We tried to enter the final km in a good position, but, of course, other teams had the same plans. In the last straight line I stayed on the wheel of Jacopo and it worked well. The whole team did a great job for the lead out but also earlier in the day at front of the race.


We had a great day and I am very happy. I could hold Cavendish behind me, but it was a very close sprint. After crossing the line I was not sure about the win, maybe I had just few centimeters. This kind of hard sprints suit me really well and I knew I had a chance today, but of course, after yesterday's stage I was not sure I would be able to do it.


Tomorrow is another day. I am not such a good specialist of time trial, but we will see how close I can be. Also, we have Slava Kuznetsov and he has a chance to do well tomorrow. So, anyway we will try to do our best tomorrow and in other stages, - said Alexander Kristoff.


Stage 2 of the Tour of Qatar (135 km from Katara Cultural Village to Qatar University) became a test of the future Road World Championships, which will be held in Doha in October. The riders did half of the distance outside Doha, while later the peloton entered the laps inside the city. These laps will be presented in the route of the World Championships.


In the crosswind sections in the beginning of the race Team KATUSHA was very active, making a strong ride in front, which provoked some splits in the peloton. Finally, a group of 22 riders, including Alexander Kristoff, Viacheslav Kuznetsov, Jacopo Guarnieri and Michael Mørkøv went away, getiing a gap of 40 – 50 seconds over group of race leader Mark Cavendish. Later, on the local laps, the peloton has reunited.


In the final sprint Team KATUSHA did all possible to bring Alexander Kristoff in front and to help him to get a perfect position for the sprint.


- I am absolutely happy for the boys, it was a great race and a very nice victory. Alex beat one of the fastest riders in the world and took a great win for the team. The wind made today’s race really hard, but our team was concentrated in every moment, so we stayed in front all the time. Later on the World Championships course the houses sheltered the peloton from the wind and Dimension Data brought their leader back.


That was part of the game. We tried to play our cards on a crosswind sections. Dimension Data did their job and brought Cavendish back, while at the finish line we saw two the strongest teams in a spectacular fight, - added Torsten Schmidt.


In general classification Mark Cavendish still hold the gold jersey of the overall leader. Alexander Kristoff moved up to second place, 5 seconds behind the leader. Viacheslav Kuznetsov is 6th, 18 seconds behind Cavendish.


KATUSHA’s Sven Erik Bystrøm, who finished 14th today, was able to move into the lead of the best young rider classification, getting the white-pearl jersey.


- I have really nice feelings. First of all, because of this great win of Alex. Also with this white jersey, which is a nice bonus for me. The first part of the race was quite hard because of these crosswind sections, but later on the circuit it was more technical, but in the same time, it was more easy to control the race, - said Sven Erik Bystrøm.


Team KATUSHA leads in the team’s classification after two stages.


Tomorrow will be held the third stage of the race – a traditional time trial on Losail Circuit, 11,4 km.
 
      
  

Philippe Maertens  ,Vitalii Abramov     -Photo © Tim De Waele / Team KATUSHA

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/tour-of-qatar-2016-alexander-kristoff-katusha-first-win-season---145209.html

09.02.2016 / MaP

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