4 March, 2014
Niki Terpstra wins his first ever Tour of Qatar
Arnaud Démare flew to a fantastic sprint victory on the final stage of the 2014 Tour of Qatar to emulate is win of two years ago. Meanwhile , Niki Terpstra finished safely in teh bunch to secure his first ever Tour of Qatar ahead of Tom Boonen and Jurgen Roelandts.
Golden Jersey Niki Terpstra (OPQ) started the day with a comfortable 17” lead in the general classification over team mate Tom Boonen. The Dutchman knew that he didn’t have a lot to worry about on the day’s 113.5-km stage that would finish with a circuit around the Doha Corniche. In fairly warm and sunny conditions, the first attacks to occured immediatley form teh starting whistle with five men powering away in the first kilometre: Sergent (TFR), Burghardt (BMC), Westra (AST), Bazzana (UHC) and Chtioui (SKD).
With none of the front five a threat to the overall victory they were given the leeway to make headway progressively with the gap extending from 1’20 at km 7 to a maximum 2’50 at km 35. As they entered the final 6-km circuit, the leading group enjoyed a 2’30 advantage at the crossing of the line.
The gap however dropped down to 51” at the first intermediate sprint (km 73.5, 4th crossing of the line), which was claimed by Chtioui ahead of Sergent and Westra.
While the pack led by the Omega Pharma – Quickstep, Lotto – Belisol and Orica – Greenedge boys kept the escapees within shooting distance, the gap moved back up to 1’55 at the second bonus sprint (km 90.5, 7th crossing of the line) that Wetsra won ahead of Sergent and Burghardt. The strong men at the front hung on to the lead all the way to the last lap but were eventually caught just before the final 1-km mark.
In the anticipated bunch sprint Arnaud Démare (FDJ) flew to an impressive victory, beating to the line Daniele Bennati (TCS) and Bernhardt Eisel (SKY). Winner of his first ever victory as a professional rider at the end of his first ever stage race, the 2012 Tour of Qatar, the 22-year-old Frenchman triumphed again on the Doha Corniche.