Tour of Qatar - Stage 1 & 2 Team Reactions
Teams and Riders weigh in on the first windy days of the Qatar race and today's
Team Wins Opening TTT by 8 Seconds
It was the perfect start from the eight-man squad, seven of whom were making
their debuts for the team. They included Bradley Wiggins and Edvald Boasson
Hagen and the latter will wear the leader's jersey in Monday's second stage
after he crossed the line first. They handled changing wind conditions superbly
to clock up an average speed of over 50km/h.
Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Russell Downing, Juan Antonio Flecha, Lars-Peter Nordhaug,
Ian Stannard and Geraint Thomas were the other six riders in a hugely impressive
opening effort from Team Sky. Flecha will wear the silver points jersey on
Monday while Thomas is set to sport the blue jersey for the best young rider.
Boasson Hagen in the gold jersey...
"The team worked so well together and it's nice to get off to such a good start,
it's amazing. I think the whole team are in good condition and hopefully it's
going to be a good week. It's going to be hard in the wind but it's good to have
the lead and we'll see what happens."
Senior Sports Director Scott Sunderland Delighted
"I knew that if we did everything right technically then we'd go really close
and that's how it turned out. It's a great start. Every little detail was
covered - from the warming up, examining the wind conditions, scouting the
course and looking how we would handle different corners and roundabouts -
basically all the different technical parts which make a difference. We also
spent a lot of time discussing the order of the riders and it then all comes
down to the physical aspect so it was great that we had enough horsepower. Every
single rider - not just the stronger ones - played their part and it was
fantastic to see," added Sunderland.
Tribute to Franco Ballerini
However the day was also clouded in sadness after news came through of the death
of former cyclist and Italian cycling team head coach Franco Ballerini. Team
Sky's riders were quick to pay tribute, Wiggins putting things into perspective
when he said the victory "had been overshadowed by the death of a great
Team Saxo Bank Third In Qatar TTT
Team Saxo Bank took on stage one of Tour of Qatar where the sprinters often have
taken the overall leadership of the race. Team Saxo Bank will be participating
with Fabian Cancellara, Stuart O'Grady, Dominik Klemme, Matti Breschel, Baden
Cooke, Juan José Haedo, Lucas Sebastian Haedo and Frank Høj. The team took third
place, 13 seconds behind Team Sky and 5 seconds behind Team Garmin.
D.S. Bradley McGee
“The riders performed really well today. It was very windy out there and I made
sure they were not pressured into crashing but the focus was to make the
teamwork going. Lucas Haedo had his debut in the Team Saxo Bank jersey today and
he impressed me. Naturally, it is tough to start out in the team time
trial-discipline with one of the strongest teams in the world nut he really
impressed me,” told sports director Bradley after stage one.
Roger Kluge Surprise 3rd Place & Best Young Rider Jersey
.Milram newcomer Roger Kluge provided a surprise in the second stage The
24-year-old broke from a chase group which featured many big names with about
500 meters to go and used a spectacular attack to take third place.
"Roger still had a lot of power in his legs at the end, “ said a happy
Ralf Grabsch, Milram's Directeur Sportif, after
the stage. "That is exactly what is needed here – a lot of power. With this
wind, you always have to pay attention. I would have like to have had a third
rider in the group. But Björn Schröder and Roger Kluge did a great job. We can
simply be satisfied with Roger's third place and the white jersey.“
BMC Racing Team
Burghardt Climbs To Fifth Overall
Alessandro Ballan and Marcus Burghardt represented the BMC Racing Team in the
decisive group of Monday’s second stage of the Tour of Qatar, with Burghardt’s
10th place finish moving him into fifth overall.
“In the last six kilometers, there was an attack and Burghardt reacted
while Ballan made sure he controlled the rest of the group so they didn’t make
up time,” BMC Racing Team Director John Lelangue
Looking Ahead To Stage 3
"Tuesday’s 85-mile (136 km) stage from Dukhan to Mesaieed promises to be another
warm and wind-swept day of racing on wide-open desert roads." Lelangue said,
"With Burghardt sitting 2:06 off the lead and Ballan only another 42 seconds
back (in 12th place), the priority will be on maintaining their positions on the
“We have a good group with Michael Schär and Martin Kohler and John Murphy to
protect those two guys,” Lelangue said.
“Burghardt is our priority No. 1 but I think there will be guys eliminated every
day. So if we can gain some places for Ballan and avoid having some other
sprinters in the top 10, that will be good.”
Slight Scare For Murphy
Murphy, the U.S. national criterium champion, crashed into a team car while
chasing back from a puncture. After being examined by the race doctor, it was
determined the 25-year-old only suffered minor scrapes and bruises. “He has a
little bit of pain in his left knee, but nothing is broken and it’s not
serious,” Lelangue said. “But he will definitely have a sore knee tomorrow.”
Team Saxo Bank
'Surprise Finish' D.S. Bradley McGee
”The breakaway seemed to surprise most of the peloton by lasting all the way. In
the group behind the two riders in the front, we had Stuart O'Grady and Baden
Cooke. Just entering the last ten kilometers, Baden has a mechanical and
had to change bikes which put an end to his chances of a great finish.”
Kurt-Asle Arvesen broke his collarbone after an accident at the start of stage
two in the Tour of Qatar.
The hugely-experienced Arvesen, who is 35 on Tuesday, is the reigning Norwegian
road race champion and belongs to an exclusive club of riders who have won
stages in the three Grand Tours. His debut in Team Sky colours came on Sunday
when the squad won the Tour of Qatar's opening team time trial. He suffered the
injury less than 24 hours later, before the peloton had even exited the
Arvesen explained, "It was really an
absurd kind of accident because it happened before the race proper had started.
We were basically just getting ready to start racing when I let a guy go past me
but it then got a bit narrow and I lost control of the bike and crashed to the
ground. It's really unfortunate to break your collarbone at any time but
especially now as I was just getting ready to start my year."
Arvesen was forced out of last year's Tour de France after fracturing his
collarbone during stage 10 and he added: "The only good thing about this is that
it is on the other side and hopefully the healing process will be as smooth as
last time. That process starts now as he will head back to Norway for treatment
from the specialist who dealt with last year's injury.
And Arvesen underlined that he knows exactly what it takes to work his way
back, saying: "I definitely still remember how to get back on my bike after an
injury like this."
Sports Director Jens Zemke...
"After the situation from yesterday we didn't have to do anything; but after 40
km, we had a strong side wind and we brought our riders to the front and bowed
up the bunch. After that we were part of a group of twenty riders, six of whom
were from TestTeam. Only Theo Bos lost the group, though he finished the race in
the second chase group with team mates Davide Appollonio and Gabriel Rasch.
Heinrich Haussler, Jeremy Hunt, Andreas Klier, Martin Reimer and Roger Hammond
rode the final in the first group and attempted to attack in the final stretch
for third place.
With 5 km to go, Roger Hammond launched an attack and Tom Boonen (Quick-Step)
tried to follow, but that attack was quickly pulled back to the group and
followed by another attack in the chase group by Heinrich Haussler. Haussler was
also pulled back before Roger Kluge (Team Milram) attacked with 200 meter to the
finish line, crossing the line in third position. Heinrich Haussler and Philippe
Gilbert rounded out the top 5. The rest of the peloton crossed the line in small
groups - evidence of the difficulty of the stage. Today we showed that we don't
want to steal a victory but that we wanted to fight for good results. We won't
give up; we will prove ourselves in the coming stages and try to go for a stage
win in the coming days."
"I've enjoyed my first race in my new team. I had a pretty good start to the
race and was able to be part of the first group after we blew up the peloton
with the team. But after a while I had to fall back from the front group. It was
a tactical mistake from my side but my legs feel very strong, and I am really
happy that I can compete with the best riders in the world. With this experience
I can grow further and I am looking forward to the next stages. I am really
satisfied with the step I made last winter."