Hammond continues British success in Qatar

Roger Hammond solos to victory

Roger Hammond solos to victory (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

By Gregor Brown in Al Kor, Qatar

Roger Hammond (Cervélo Test Team) put in a powerful move at the end of the Tour of Qatar's Stage 2 to polish off the strong work of his team with a victory. His effort ensured the win in Al Khor Corniche and the leader's golden jersey.

The move left a Briton in control of the overall classification for the second day, after Bradley Wiggins won the team time trial with his Garmin-Slipstream teammates.

"There are Brits everywhere; not in cyclo-cross, but we need to work on that," he said. "Ten or twelve years ago, they were getting really slatted for concentrating on the track. I think it is working and that riders are coming through. I just wish that system had been around for me 15 years go, but I am glad for the young guys."

Hammond made the winning move of 14 men in Monday's 134-kilometre stage from Khalifa Stadium to Al Khor Corniche. Team Cervélo had to take control of the finale since it had six men in the move. Another British rider, Daniel Lloyd, started the attacks that led to the winning attack of Hammond at 2.8 kilometres remaining.

"I am really happy with Lloyd," said Hammond. "It was his first race in a big team. In a big race like this, to make the front group with twelve guys, I wonder what he was thinking when he was looking around seeing the rest of the riders in that group.

"He should be really happy with himself," he added. "He did a great job for the team today. It is nice to see another Brit come through and step up."

The group also included a trio of fast guys - Tom Boonen, Danilo Napolitano and Angelo Furlan.

Strong winds almost destroyed Hammond's move. He held only one second over Napolitano at the finish line, but won his first race on the road since the 2006 Tour of Britain stage two.

"Did I look back? A couple of times because I felt like I had stopped," he said. "I looked back just to make sure I was still going forward!"

Hammond turned professional in 2001 with Collstrop-Palmans. He made a breakthrough in 2004 with a podium spot in the one-day Classic Paris-Roubaix, before spending two years with Discovery Channel and two with T-Mobile/Columbia.

"Last year I had a really bad winter, but this year the winter was much more consistent," he said. "I had consistent training and my wife looked after me pretty well. [The win] is a nice confirmation that things are on the right track."

Hammond moved into the overall classification lead by six seconds over Boonen, thanks to the bonus seconds awarded for the win. The next four days are flat, but with bonus seconds and windy stages, anything can happen before the final overall win is decided.

"It is going to be very difficult to win the overall here," he said. "It is a seconds game. I have won a stage, I am leading now and that is nice. We have six riders in the front; it would not surprise me if one of our guys took a flyer and took a jersey by winning the stage."

Cervélo's Heinrich Haussler is in third overall, seven second behind Hammond. Teammate Andreas Klier is 11 seconds back.

The Tour of Qatar, February 1 to 6, continues with a 137.5 kilometre stage to the Doha Golf Club tomorrow.

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