Alexander Kristoff: In the end, I was not strong enough

These days, you have no choice but to hit the ground running. Long gone is the era when a grandee of the peloton might show up for his first race of the season bundled up in arm and leg warmers, with just a few hundred kilometres in his legs, and then coax himself back into action along the French or Italian Riviera. But even by modern standards, the reintroduction to racing for those starting their campaigns at the Tour of Qatar on Monday was particularly brutal, with the opening stage run off at an eye-watering average speed of 51.938km/h.

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