Terpstra Wins Tour of Qatar
Sam Bennett sprinted to victory in stage 6 ofTour of Qatar 2015 for Team Bora - Argon 18. Niki Terpstra took his second consecutive overall Tour of Qatar victory for Team Etixx - Quick-Step, finishing with an advantage of six seconds over Maciej Bodnar of Tinkoff Bank - Saxo Bank and nine seconds over Alexander Kristoff (Katusha Team).
With Alexander Kristoff being just a few seconds behind Niki Terpstra in the general classification before today's final stage, eventual race winner Terpstra's teammates had a crucial task today: Prevent Kristoff from gaining bonus seconds in the intermediate sprints at any cost. Tom Boonen, Iljo Keisse and Matteo Trentin all contested the sprints in defense of Terpstra and managed to secure the bonus seconds.
Team Bora-Argon 18's Sam Bennett won the stage, with Andrea Guardini (Pro Team Astana) finishing second and Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) placing third. Kristoff finished outside the top ten in the final sprint, thus preventing him from gaining any additional time on Terpstra through bonus seconds. Terpstra finished 25th with the peloton and thereby sealed his overall race victory. Terpstra also won the Tour of Qatar stage 3 individual time trial.
"Today was the last chance for our team to score a stage win and that gave us the extra motivation," Team Bora-Argon 18 sports director André Schulze explained to Roadcycling.com. "Even though we modified our lead-out a bit in today's stage, all our riders played an important role in winning the stage. We knew that a big leadout train with all riders would be less successful, so we concentrated completely on the last kilometer and we placed just two, three riders there for Sam. And it worked out perfectly. Zak Dempster guided him to the wheel of Tom Boonen where he was positioned perfectly. So, Sam could just launch his sprint and win."
"It's satisfying," race winner Terpstra told Roadcycling.com. "I came here to defend the title or at least go for a good placement. The time trial went so well that I was in the lead and the team did a great job at defending my leadership for the rest of the stage race. I was a bit nervous before today's start, because if Kristoff had a really good day - and he was doing well so far with three stage wins already - he could still pass me in the general classification with the bonus seconds, but fortunately he didn't manage to do so."
"The guys made the Katusha team work hard, so they were tired, and in the end Kristoff was unable to win the sprint and take the ten bonus seconds at the finish line. So, I took the win and I am happy. Both my two general classification victories were tough. It's never easy to win. I am in good condition now and this knowledge gives me confidence for my next races," Terpstra explained.
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