First win in Qatar for sprint star Greipel

Stage summary13.02.2014Stage 5- Al Zubara Fort / Madinat Al Shamal

Second yesterday, André Greipel got things right today on the 5th stage of the Tour of Qatar. The German sprinter and national champion conquered his first ever success in Qatar, winning the bunched sprint in Madinat Al Shamal ahead of Aidis Kruopis and Theo Bos. In the leading pack, Niki Terpstra remains the overall leader of the event with one day to go.

After yesterday's record-breaking stage in terms of speed, the wind was still extremely present for the Tour of Qatar's fifth stage but it wouldn't be as decisive. The 148 riders (one non starter: Locatelli, BAR) took off from the Al Zubara Fort for the longest day of the event: 159 kilometres of riding all the way to Madinat Al Shamal.

Despite a fairly fast start (48.6 kms covered during the first hour), four riders managed to breakaway as soon as kilometre 6: Devolder (TFR), Isaychev (KAT), Schorn (TNE) and Gretsch (ALM). Their advantage over the pack grew rapidly and reached 2'05 at km 26 while a counter-attacking rider, Chtioui (SKD) remained 50” adrift.

The first intermediate sprint (km 44) was claimed by Schorn ahead of Isaychev and Gretsch while Chtioui was at 2'20 and the pack, not too concerned by the escapees, was 5' behind. The Tunisian national champion eventually stopped his vain solitary effort and was caught by the pack after the 50-km mark. Meanwhile, the gap grew in favour of the front men and reached a maximum 6'50 at km 59.

Slowly but surely, the sprinters' teams took command of the pack and started chasing. At the second bonus sprint, at the first crossing of the finish line (km 95.5), won by Gretsch ahead of Isaychev and two-time Tour of Flanders winner Stijn Devolder, the gap had dropped down to 4'05. The riders would then have to cover one big lap of the circuit (36.5 kms) and two small ones (13.5 kms). At the second crossing of the line, the leading four could still enjoy a 3' advantage.

The escapees were eventually caught by the bunched pack at km 150, just before the final showdown. In the final kilometres of the race, all the big names of sprinting moved to the front of the pack for what would be quite an explanation on the long and very slightly uphill straight in Madinat Al Shamal. Unlike the previous day when he had to settle for second spot just behind Boonen, André Greipel flew to a convincing first win in Qatar. The German national champion beat Aidis Kruopis (OGE) and Theo Bos (BEL) to the line, claiming a second success in 2014 after his win at the Tour Down Under.

After a rather comfortable day in the pack, well protected by his Omega Pharma – Quickstep team mates, Niki Terpstra keeps his overall leader's Golden Jersey. The Dutchman still has a solid 17” lead over Tom Boonen, and 20” over Roelandts (LTB). With a day to go and a final stage on the Doha Corniche, Terpstra is on pole position to capture his first ever overall victory on the Tour of Qatar. Boonen keeps command of the points' classification while Guillaume Van Keirsbulck remains the best young rider.

Stage 5 Al Zubara Fort / Madinat Al Shamal

All about the stage key moments

Jersey wearers after the stage 6

Classifications after the stage 6

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