Tour of Qatar: Omega Pharma - Quick-Step rider Niki Terpstra wins stage one
Niki Terpstra produces a storming ride to win the opening stage of the Tour of Qatar.
Last Updated: 09/02/14 4:22pm
The Omega Pharma - Quick-Step rider formed an integral part of the day's main breakaway, who battled hard in the closing stages to successfully evade the chasing peloton, and then produced a stinging surge in the final 250m which left his three pursuers in the dust and saw him cross the line with several bikes lengths to spare.
Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto-Belisol) and Michael Schar (BMC) edged out Martin Elmiger for the remaining spots on the podium, while the break's only other survivor, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck crossed the line just ahead of Quick-Step team-mate Tom Boonen, who headed up a reduced peloton, seven seconds adrift.
Those results - coupled with time bonuses accrued en-route - saw Terpstra take a firm grip on the leader's jersey with a nine-second advantage over Roelandts at the top of the general classification.
The race had got off to a typically-windswept start and Team Sky's Sports Director Servais Knaven explained how events panned out.
He told TeamSky.com: "The racing was full on from beginning to end. The winds caused havoc and the peloton split into five separate groups at one point. Three groups did eventually come back together, but just before the last one regained contact, the five riders made their move.
"That was just before the intermediate sprint, and even though we sent Danny [Pate], Luke [Rowe] and Gabba [Rasch] to the front, we were expecting the sprint teams to bring them back. They got within about 15 seconds of doing that at one point, but then no-one could finish the job off and the break were able to stay away.
"Those guys deserve credit though, they were super strong and worked really well together today."