Tour of Qatar 2015: Rojas outsprints Boonen in stage 1

The first stage of the 2015 Tour of Qatar leads from Dukhan to Sealine Beach. Jarl Salomein and Luca Sterbin are in a two-men break, but they are caught with 50 kilometres left. Crosswinds and echelons mark the stage with Marcel Kittel among the most prominent absentees in the final sprint. Rojas outperforms Boonen and Démare and is the leader in Qatar, while Bradley Wiggins is another echelon victim. (Slideshow route/profile)

Tour of Qatar 2015: Results 1st stage

1. José Joaquin Rojas (spa)
2. Tom Boonen (bel) s.t.
3. Arnaud Démare (fra) s.t.
4. Peter Sagan (Svk) s.t.
5. Sam Bennett (Irl) s.t.
6. Jasper Stuyven (bel) s.t.
7. Heinrich Haussler (aus) s.t.
8. Andrea Guardini (ita) s.t.
9. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) s.t.
10. Nacer Bouhanni (fra) s.t.

GC after stage 1
1. José Joaquin Rojas (spa)
2. Tom Boonen (bel) + 0.04
3. Arnaud Démare (fra) + 0.06
4. Niki Terpstra (Nld) + 0.08
5. Roberto Ferrari (ita) + 0.09
6. Peter Sagan (Svk) + 0.10
7. Sam Bennett (Irl) s.t.
8. Jasper Stuyven (bel) s.t.
9. Heinrich Haussler (aus) s.t.
10. Andrea Guardini (ita) s.t.

Race report
The flag is dropped and Salomein and Sterbin are off. They race to a 8’30” gap and then Stijn Vandenbergh and Matti Breschel start the chase. The pack takes it easy and tha gap balloons to over 10 minutes.

With 50 km’s done the chasers Vandenberg en Breschel are caught by the bunch and the gain of the two escapees is rapidly shrinking. Only 3 minutes left of what once was 10 minutes. Due to strong head-winds the average speed is 30 kph.

The results in the first intermediate sprint: 1. Jarl Salomein, 2. Luca Sterbini, 3. Nikias Arndt, while Tom Boonen is fourth and misses out on bonus-seconds.

With 55 km’s left the first echelon is a fact when Toom Boonen speeds upfront. A moment later the escapees are caught. Wiggins, Bouhanni, Boom and Haussler were not paying attention and were in the second group, but they are able to restore the damage.

The second intermediate sprint is won by Nikias Arndt, making him the virtual leader. Niki Terpstra is second, Roberto Ferrari third.

With 23 km´s left Westra, Boom and Breschel attack and they race to a 1 minute gain, but they are reeled in with 10 kilometres to go. The pack is down to around 50 riders with fast men Kristoff, Bouhanni, Démare, Haussler and Bennett still aboard. Marcel Kittel is gone, the first victim of the typical Qatarian crosswinds.

The pack storms to the line with Joaquin Rojas besting Tom Boonen on the line.

Bradley Wiggins loses 33 seconds and can forget about his overall ambitions aside.

Tour of Qatar 2015 stage 1: Images and more

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José Joaquin Rojas

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