LOSAIL, Qatar, Feb 11, 2014 – Australia’s double world pursuit
champion Michael Hepburn (Orica) won the Tour of Qatar’s third stage, a 10km
time trial at the Losail motor circuit, ahead of Dutch rider Lars Bloom and
Italy’s Danielle Benati, on Tuesday.
Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma) of the Netherlands came in fifth to stretch
his lead in the overall standings.
Going into the final two days’ racing, Terpstra is 21 seconds up on
Belgium’s Jurgen Boelnadts with Bloom at 24sec and Tom Boonen, his main rival,
“It’s a good scenario for Niki, he’s in a favorable position and all the
more so as our team is in good form and is doing well at defending the
jersey,” said Omega Pharma sporting director Wilfried Peeters.
In Tuesday’s race agianst the clock, Hepburn set off 12th of the 150 riders
and posted a time of 13 minutes 28 seconds, which was never bettered.
The gold medallist in individual and team pursuit at the world track
championships in Minsk last year denied Bloom by one second with Benati a
further five seconds back.
“This Tour of Qatar didn’t start well for me with two punctures and a fall.
But this morning I was feeling really good,” said the rider from Brisbane.
“I controlled my effort well to put a lot of power into the second part.”
Favourite to prevail at the circuit which is home to the Qatar motorcycling
Grand Prix was Fabian Cancellara, who had to settle for fourth.
The Swiss Trek team rider said: “The last three kilometres were very hard,
clearly I was missing some strength.
“But I’m not worried, this is my seventh day of racing on the trot and it’s
normal when you’re in the middle of preparing to have off days.
“It’s in April that you have to be ready.”
Wednesday’s fourth and penultimate stage is a 135km ride from Dukhan to
Results of the Tour of Qatar third
stage, a 10.5km time trial at the Losail motor circuit on Tuesday:
1. Michael Hepburn (AUS/Orica) 13min 28sec, 2. Lars Boom (NED) at 1sec, 3.
Daniele Bennati (ITA) 6s, 4. Fabian Cancellara (SUI) 6, 5. Niki Terpstra (NED)
8, 6. Martin Elmiger (SUI) 10, 7. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (BEL) 13, 8.
Philippe Gilbert (BEL) 15, 9. Jens Mouris (NED) 16, 10. Gert Steegmans (BEL)
15. Tom Boonen (BEL) 22
1. Niki Tersptra (NED/Omega Pharma) en 6hr 57min 06sec, 2. Jurgen Roelnadts
(BEL) at 21s, 3. Lars Boom (NED) 24, 4. Tom Boonen (BEL) 28, 5. Ian Stannard
(GBR) 35, 6. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (BEL) 45, 7. Michael Morkov (DEN) 49, 8.
Marcel Sieberg (GER) 49, 9. Stijn Vandenbergh (BEL) 58, 10. Andrew Fenn (GBR)