Søren Kragh Andersen back in Tour of Qatar's young rider jersey
Dane Søren Kragh Andersen isn't letting the occasion of his first race in Giant-Alpecin colours get the better of him at the Tour of Qatar with the 21-year-old currently sitting sixth overall and leading the young rider classification. Kragh Andersen's tenth place on stage 1 saw him take the white jersey on his first day of racing with the WorldTour team which he then lost to Sven Erik Bystrøm (Katusha) following stage 3.
Ninth place on the stage 3 time trial saw Kragh Andersen retake the lead in the classification and he now leads Bystrøm by 14 seconds with two stages to come.
"The team made a plan and I was able to stick to it. I was very motivated and I had nothing left in me when I crossed the finish line. This was the best possible result that I could have achieved," Kragh Andersen said of the time trial. "I am very happy with this result and with retaking the white jersey. This time trial performance is very satisfying especially this early in the season."
With Kragh Andersen the best placed Giant-Alpecin rider in the race, coach Marc Reef stressed the importance of paying attention to the overall standings.
"The weather played an important role today with strong winds during the time trial. We applied a good pacing strategy and Søren was extremely strong," Reef said. "The general classification is still very close and we must be 100 percent focused on the two remaining stages."
Stage 4 of the Tour of Qatar takes the peloton from Al Zubarah Fort to Madinat Al Shamal.
Søren Kragh Andersen in white (TDW Sports)
Jos van Emden close to Tour of Qatar victory
In the end, just one rider got the better of Jos van Emden after the 30-year-old had occupied the Tour of Qatar hot set for the majority stage 3 before Edvald Boasson Hagen (Data Dimension) blasted the 11km course 25 seconds faster than the LottoNL-Jumbo rider.
"I never consider myself well off, but I thought that I would have a good chance to win this time trial," van Emden said. "When I heard that Boasson Hagen was 25 seconds faster, it hurt me. It's always hard to be dethroned, but it proves that he's simply the best on the other hand. I delivered a good time trial. The difference between is the power."
Van Emden won the time trial stage of last year's Eneco Tour for his first victory in two years. The Dutchman also finished fifth in the Tour de France stage one time trial in Utrecht, third in the national time trial titles, and was runner up to Peter Sagan at the Tour of California time trial last May.
Sports director Jan Boven explained that he though van Emden had it in the bag until Boasson Hagen crossed the line.
"We immediately knew that he had a chance to win this time trial. It’s a pity that Boasson Hagen beat him, but Jos didn’t have a weak moment in his race. Boasson Hagen’s time is impressive. We’re fed up by this second places because we know from last year that it’s hard to win races," Boven said.
Cofidis name Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia squad
French Pro-Continental team Cofidis line up at this weekend's Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia looking for its first win of the season. The 2015 edition was won by Astana's Rein Taaramäe in his first race since moving on from the Cofidis team.
Cofidis start the 1.1 race with two Spanish riders in Luis Angel Maté Mardones and Daniel Navarro Garcia, and Nicolas Edet who all finished inside the top-25 last year. The trio will be aiming to improve on their results with support coming from Jérôme Cousin, Stéphane Rossetto, Julien Simon, and neo-pro Hugo Hofstetter.
Navarro won the race in 2013 and having placed ninth overall at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana enters the race in form.
Cofidis for 2016 Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia: Jérôme Cousin, Nicolas Edet, Hugo Hofstetter, Luis Angel Maté Mardones, Daniel Navarro Garcia, Stéphane Rossetto and Julien Simon.
Cyclingnews podcast - Etixx-Quickstep exclusion from Qatar, Katusha escapes ban
The latest edition of the Cyclingnews podcast is out with Sadhbh O'Shea, Patrick Fletcher and Procycling's Ed Pickering casting their eyes over Etixx-Quick Step's exclusion from the Tour of Qatar where Mark Cavendish won his first race for Data Dimension. The trio also discuss Katusha avoiding a racing suspension for two positive tests in 12-months, and what we learnt from the World Championships dress rehearsal in Qatar.
In another packed episode, there is also a closer inspection of Cavendish's stage win, talk of ONE Pro Cycling's WorldTour ambitions, Team Sky's performances down under and riders of the week. You can listen to the episode below or to subscribe to the Cyclingnews podcast, simply click here.