Tour of Qatar news shorts: Katusha scores first win of the year in Qatar

Battaglin crashes out; Van Avermaet looks ahead to TT; Start order for stage 3

Katusha scores first win of the year in Qatar

Katusha won their first race of the 2015 season after Alexander Kristoff finished first in the stage 2 bunch kick at the Tour of Qatar on Monday. The Norwegian sprinter was the fastest of 15 riders that formed a lead group through strong crosswinds. The win bumped him up into the overall race lead heading into the stage 3 time trial on Tuesday.

“This was maybe the hardest stage I have ever seen here in Qatar,” said Katusha's director Torsten Schmidt. “A very strong wind, high pace, permanent echelons and fighting for the position in the front made this stage a real struggle. The team was great today. The peloton split in groups many times, and every time Alex had his teammates, who supported him. The last time, when the leading group of 20 riders went away, Viacheslav Kuznetsov and Sven Erik Bystrøm helped Alex to get a good position in front. In the end, it was the great sprint of Kristoff who finished the job. This is our first 2015 victory and I am happy we’ve got it so early in the season.”

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) wins stage 2 of the Tour of Qatar

Crash forces Battaglin to abandon Tour of Qatar

A crash 60km into the second stage of the Tour of Qatar has forced Bardiani-CSF rider Enrico Battaglin to abandon the race all together. The Italian hit the ground after colliding with a rider in front of him during a section of strong crosswinds.

Stage 2 was a 194.5km race from Al Wakra to Al Khor Corniche where the field was shattered because of strong gusty winds, and only 15 riders were in the lead group at the finish line. Bardiani’s Luca Sterbini was the first to go down in the opening kilometres, followed by Battaglin at the 60km mark.

Battaglin was also involved in a crash at the Tour de San Luis in January, and has fallen on the same injuries, according to a team press release.

“Already from the first kilometre started echelons,” Battaglin said. “I was in a chasing group when a rider of Topsport tried to jump a bump but he went down and I couldn’t avoid him. I suffered some pain on my left side and remembering the Tour de San Luis crash, we decided to stop. This is a race that is a bit unlucky for me, last year too I went down heavily. Fortunately this time it is not so serious and the abandon was just to prevent future problems.

Battaglin will travel home to Italy and focus on the upcoming Trofeo Laigueglia.

Van Avermaet looks ahead to stage 3 time trial

BMC’s Greg Van Avermaet is three seconds away from the overall race lead at the Tour of Qatar, and he is hoping to stay with in striking distance of the gold jersey after Wednesday’s stage 3 time trial.

"I will see how it goes," Van Avermaet said. "I have spent a lot of energy the first two days already. Last year, I did a good time trial and there is not a specialist up front (in the overall standings). So if I can stay close to Tom Boonen and the other guys, that will be good. I am feeling pretty good. The breakaways were not as long as normal, but I feel my form is good. It is a good sign for the classics.”

Van Avermaet placed third in the sprint, out of the small lead group that raced into Al Khor Corniche at the end of the second stage. Kristoff won and Guardini was second. His teammate Marcus Burghardt was also in the front group and finished eighth.

"It was a hard sprint with the tailwind," Van Avermaet said. "They surprised us a little from the back so I had to close the gap and then Kristoff started his sprint. So it was hard to come over him. I think I did a good sprint to get third place."

Van Avermaet is now in third place overall, three seconds behind Kristoff and two seconds behind Boonen. Burghardt is in sixth place at nine seconds back. 

Greg van Avermaet (BMC)
 

Stage 3 time trial start order

The 10.9km Losail circuit time trial will be an important factor in determining the overall winner of the 2015 Tour of Qatar, especially with only 15 riders within 20 seconds of race leader Alexander Kristoff (Katusha). Of those riders, Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quickstep), at 8 seconds, Jasper Stuyven (Trek) at 10 seconds and Ian Stannard (Sky) at 10 seconds are among the strongest riders against the clock. Riders like Fabian Cancellara (Trek) and Bradley Wiggins (Sky), who missed out on today's selection and finished more than 9 minutes behind, can still fight for the stage victory.

The first rider begins at 13:40 local time (GMT +3 hours)

Start order

#Rider Name (Country) TeamStart Time (GMT +3h)
1Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida13:40:00 
2Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits13:41:00 
3Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Movistar Team13:42:00 
4Shane Archbold (NZl) Bora-Argon 1813:43:00 
5Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise13:44:00 
6Albert Timmer (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin13:45:00 
7David Boucher (Fra) FDJ.fr13:46:00 
8Jens Mouris (Ned) Orica GreenEdge13:47:00 
9Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Trek Factory Racing13:48:00 
10Dries Devenyns (Bel) IAM Cycling13:49:00 
11Jesper Hansen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo13:50:00 
12Lars Boom (Ned) Astana Pro Team13:51:00 
13Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing Team13:52:00 
14Iljo Keisse (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step13:53:00 
15Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Team Katusha13:54:00 
16Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre-Merida13:55:00 
17Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN - Qhubeka13:56:00 
18Steve Chainel (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits13:57:00 
19Pablo Lastras (Spa) Movistar Team13:58:00 
20Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-Argon 1813:59:00 
21Jef Van Meirhaeghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise14:00:00 
22Georg Preidler (Aut) Team Giant-Alpecin14:01:00 
23Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ.fr14:02:00 
24Svein Tuft (Can) Orica GreenEdge14:03:00 
25Danny Pate (USA) Team Sky14:04:00 
26Grégory Rast (Swi) Trek Factory Racing14:05:00 
27Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) IAM Cycling14:06:00 
28Pavel Brutt (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo14:07:00 
29Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana Pro Team14:08:00 
30Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team14:09:00 
31Martin Velits (Svk) Etixx - Quick-Step14:10:00 
32Marco Haller (Aut) Team Katusha14:11:00 
33Mario Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida14:12:00 
34Jaco Venter (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka14:13:00 
35Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits14:14:00 
36Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team14:15:00 
37Paul Voss (Ger) Bora-Argon 1814:16:00 
38Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise14:17:00 
39Marcel Kittel (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin14:18:00 
40William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ.fr14:19:00 
41Brett Lancaster (Aus) Orica GreenEdge14:20:00 
42Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky14:21:00 
43Gert Steegmans (Bel) Trek Factory Racing14:22:00 
44Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling14:23:00 
45Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo14:24:00 
46Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro Team14:25:00 
47Peter Velits (Svk) BMC Racing Team14:26:00 
48Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step14:27:00 
49Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Team Katusha14:28:00 
50Andrea Piechele (Ita) Bardiani CSF14:29:00 
51Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida14:30:00 
52Johann Van Zyl (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka14:31:00 
53Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits14:32:00 
54Enrique Sanz (Spa) Movistar Team14:33:00 
55Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Bora-Argon 1814:34:00 
56Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise14:35:00 
57Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin14:36:00 
58Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr14:37:00 
59Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica GreenEdge14:38:00 
60Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky14:39:00 
61Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory Racing14:40:00 
62Reto Hollenstein (Swi) IAM Cycling14:41:00 
63Michael Morkov (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo14:42:00 
64Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team14:43:00 
65Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC Racing Team14:44:00 
66Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step14:45:00 
67Dmitrii Kozonchuk (Rus) Team Katusha14:46:00 
68Simone Sterbini (Ita) Bardiani CSF14:47:00 
69Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida14:48:00 
70Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN - Qhubeka14:49:00 
71Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits14:50:00 
72Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team14:51:00 
73Scott Thwaites (GBr) Bora-Argon 1814:52:00 
74Jelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise14:53:00 
75Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin14:54:00 
76Murilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) FDJ.fr14:55:00 
77Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica GreenEdge14:56:00 
78Christopher Sutton (Aus) Team Sky14:57:00 
79Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek Factory Racing14:58:00 
80Marcel Aregger (Swi) IAM Cycling14:59:00 
81Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo15:00:00 
82Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro Team15:01:00 
83Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing Team15:02:00 
84Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step15:03:00 
85Luca Paolini (Ita) Team Katusha15:04:00 
86Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani CSF15:05:00 
87Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Lampre-Merida15:06:00 
88Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) MTN - Qhubeka15:07:00 
89Dominique Rollin (Can) Cofidis, Solutions Credits15:08:00 
90Francisco Ventoso (Spa) Movistar Team15:09:00 
91Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Argon 1815:10:00 
92Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise15:11:00 
93Bert De Backer (Bel) Team Giant-Alpecin15:12:00 
94Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ.fr15:13:00 
95Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica GreenEdge15:14:00 
96Andrew Fenn (GBr) Team Sky15:15:00 
97Markel Irizar (Spa) Trek Factory Racing15:16:00 
98Vicente Reynes (Spa) IAM Cycling15:17:00 
99Matti Breschel (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo15:18:00 
100Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team15:19:00 
101Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team15:20:00 
102Nikolas Maes (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step15:21:00 
103Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) Team Katusha15:22:00 
104Nicola Boem (Ita) Bardiani CSF15:23:00 
105Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida15:24:00 
106Youcef Reguigui (Alg) MTN - Qhubeka15:25:00 
107Jonas Ahlstrand (Swe) Cofidis, Solutions Credits15:26:00 
108Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team15:27:00 
109Daniel Schorn (Aut) Bora-Argon 1815:28:00 
110Jarl Salomein (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise15:29:00 
111Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin15:30:00 
112Yoann Offredo (Fra) FDJ.fr15:31:00 
113Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica GreenEdge15:32:00 
114Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky15:33:00 
115Boy Van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory Racing15:34:00 
116Roger Kluge (Ger) IAM Cycling15:35:00 
117Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo15:36:00 
118Ruslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team15:37:00 
119Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team15:38:00 
120Niki Terpstra (Ned) Etixx - Quick-Step15:39:00 
121Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Team Katusha15:40:00 
122Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani CSF15:41:00 
123Nelson Oliveira (Por) Lampre-Merida15:42:00 
124Theo Bos (Ned) MTN - Qhubeka15:43:00 
125Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits15:44:00 
126Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team15:45:00 
127Ralf Matzka (Ger) Bora-Argon 1815:46:00 
128Tim Declercq (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise15:47:00 
129Tom Veelers (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin15:48:00 
130Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ.fr15:49:00 
131Adam Blythe (GBr) Orica GreenEdge15:50:00 
132Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky15:51:00 
133Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek Factory Racing15:52:00 
134Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling15:53:00 
135Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo15:54:00 
136Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana Pro Team15:55:00 
137Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team15:56:00 
138Tom Boonen (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step15:57:00 
139Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha15:58:00 

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