The dominance of Tom Boonen at the 2012 Tour Of Qatar coupled with his own team’s struggles in the race so far has prompted Mark Renshaw to admit defeat in his pre-race goal of successfully defending the title that he won last year in the colours of HTC-Highroad.
The Australian rider joined Rabobank in the winter following the disbandment of his former team, with the Dutch outfit offering him the opportunity to be their lead sprinter. With Renshaw and the team still finding their feet at the beginning of the 2012 season, things haven’t quite gone to plan so far in Qatar. Rabobank finished in ninth position at the team trial on Monday and currently lie in eighth place in the team standings after four stages. Renshaw (15th) is the only one of his team in the top 25 in the overall GC.
Yesterday’s stage four was particularly difficult for Renshaw and Rabobank, who failed to manage the situation when the field split at a crucial stage and then suffered numerous punctures in the closing part of the race.
“The GC is finished,” he told sbs.com.au. ““We didn’t have anyone in the front group [yesterday] so it’s pretty disappointing. I just missed it when it split and then we had four guys flat all at the same time at the crucial moment.
“We didn’t really have a chance in stage three or stage four with the wind. The last day is more of a criterium so that’s a good chance to practice with the train. We need to do something in the next two days.”