Tour of Qatar 2015: Alexander Kristoff, Master of the Crosswinds in stage 2

Echelons! Straight from the start Etixx makes good use of the crosswinds and tears the pack apart. When the pace drops after 50 km’s Greg Van Avermat attacks, but he and his fellow-escapees are reeled in after Etixx sends the pack flying once again. Eventually the stage boils down to a sprint with 15 riders. Alexander Kristoff is fastest and wears the leaders jersey tomorrow. (Slideshow route/profile)

Tour of Qatar 2015: Results 2nd stage
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor)
2. Andrea Guardini (ita) s.t.
3. Greg Van Avermaet (bel) s.t.
4. Peter Sagan (Svk) s.t.
5. Tom Boonen (bel) s.t.
6. Heinrich Haussler (aus) s.t.
7. Adam Blythe (gbr) s.t.
8. Marcus Burghardt (ger) s.t.
9. Jasper Stuyven (bel) s.t.
10. Ian Stannard (gbr) s.t.

GC after stage 2
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor)
2. Tom Boonen (bel) + 0.01
3. Greg Van Avermaet (bel) + 0.03
4. Andrea Guardini (ita) + 0.04
5. Niki Terpstra (Nld) + 0.08
6. Marcus Burghardt (Ger) + 0.9
7. Peter Sagan (Svk) + 0.10
8. Heinrich Haussler (aus) s.t.
9. Jasper Stuyven (bel) s.t.
10. Maciel Bodnar (pol)

Race report
Straight from the start Etixx opens fire and the pack is torn into pieces. Boonen, Cancellara, Sagan, Kristoff, Haussler and Terpstra are in the first group, while Wiggins, Valverde, Gilbert and Kittel are forced to chase. The pace is high and leader Rojas is dropped, just like Arnaud Démare.

With 40 kilometres done 25 riders are upfront. A group with Rojas is 15 seconds down, Demaré and Bouhanni are at 1’10” and Wiggins and valverde are at 2’25”.

When the pace of the leading group is dropped, Van Avermaet attacks. He is accompanied by Wallays, Van Zyl, Mørkøv and Hayman, while Rojas, Bouhanni and Valverde are able to rejoin Boonen et al. A group with Démare and Wiggins joins the bunch at kilometre 102.

Van Avermaet and compadres race to a 3’50” gain. Wallays is caught after he punctures.

Results of the first intermediate sprint: 1. Greg van Avermaet 2. Mathew Hayman 3. Michael Morkov.

In the third hour of racing Boonen speeds up once again and all of a sudden riders are everywhere. In the first group of 36 riders are Boonen, Terpstra, Sagan, Kristoff, Haussler, Gilbert, Bouhanni, Démare and Rojas. Kittel, Valverde and Boasson Hagen missed out and are chasing. A little later Bouhanni and Gilbert are dropped, the latter because he needs to change a wheel. Bad timing.

Results of the second intermediate sprint: 1. Tom Boonen 2. Nikolas Maes 3. Marcus Burghardt.

With Boonen, Terpstra, Maes, Vandenbergh and Van Keirsbulck Etixx is strong upfront and they get assistance of Haussler. The Australian champion accelerates with 30 kilometres left and Démare and leader Rojas are amongst the victims. A group of 15 riders is set to battle it out in the finale: Terpstra, Boonen, Maes, Sagan, Bodnar, Stuyven, Burghardt, Van Avermaet, Kristoff, Guardini, Tleubajev, Rowe, Stannard, Blythe and Haussler.

Alexander Kristoff is fastest on the line at Al Khor Corniche, while Andrea Guardini is second. The strong Etixx team performance is not given a proper follow-up by Boonen as he finishes fifth.

Tomorrow the riders battle it out on a racing circuit.

Tour of Qatar 2015 stage 2: Images and more

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Alexander Kristoff

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