The Norwegian rider had come into the final stage 11 seconds down, and need to do well in the final intermediate sprints and take bonus seconds in the final sprint to take overall vcitory. Kristoff placed second in the first intermediate sprint to pick up two seconds and give him a chance in the final sprint but he and the Katusha team were shut out in the decisive sprint for victory won by Sam Bennett (Bora-Argon 18). Kristoff was only 19th on the stage.
“It was clear we had to try something. We were motivated and we tried to get some seconds in the intermediate sprints during the race,” he said on the team’s website. “But at the same time we used a lot of energy. In the end we missed some power to bring me in front in a good position, but at least we tried and we fought until the last meters.”
Kristoff tried to look at the positive aspect to his race: winning three stages and beating many of his sprint rivals three times.
“I can’t complain because it was a great week. Team Katusha was impressive here, my teammates did an amazing race and I thank them for that. This is my best ever start of the season with three victories and the final podium.”
The Norwegian sprinter will look to continue his successes at the hillier Tour of Oman.
“I want to say that our guys fought in this stage until the end, we wanted to get another success, but I admit, we were a little bit tired in the final after all the hard stages we had this week,” said sport director Torsten Schmidt.
“We spent a perfect week here in Qatar! We won 3 stages, took a place on the final podium and won the silver jersey, but the main thing is we showed a very high level of our preparation to the season and perfect team unity and cohesion.”