Runner-up Roman Van Uden (in red), winner Lars Van de Vall (in yellow), Lukas Poestlberger (in white) and third-placed Patrick Bos are seen on the podium. Van De Vall, Van Uden and Bos finished in the top three. Also seen on the podium is Qatar Cycling Federation (QCF) President Sheikh Khalid bin Ali Al Thani (third left) and QCF Secretary General Magid Al Naimi (second left). PICTURES BY: SALIM MATRAMKOT
DOHA: Dutch rider Lars Van De Vall of Cycling Team Amsterdam yesterday produced the fastest time over 3km to grab the yellow jersey on day one of the inaugural edition of Tour of Al Zubarah.
Van De Vall posted a time of 3 minutes 58 seconds at a make-shift track inside Lekhwiya Sports Stadium on a day when Qatar’s Ahmed Elbourdainy suffered a crash at the last corner.
The Dutchman edged New Zealand’s Roman Van Uden of Kazma Cycling Team to the top spot while Patrick Bos finished the day as the third fastest rider at the new Asian Tour event.
Mohamed Yousif Mirza, Klemen Stimulak and Lukas Poestlberger rounded off as the top six riders of the day. A total of 85 riders hit the track for the 3km prologue.
After day one, Van De Vall owns the yellow jersey while Van Uden has the red jersey. Poestlberger has the white jersey for topping the charts as the fastest young rider of the day.
Elbourdainy - of Qatar Team - was Qatar’s best chance of sealing a top three finish but the home boy saw his bike skid due to ‘dust on the track’.
Van De Vall, 27, said he was surprised to have bagged the yellow jersey.
“Yes, I am surprised because it was a short distance. I am not really fast over short distance so yes, I was surprised,” Van de Vall said.
“That was a good length for me. It is a really difference race with a lot of strong riders. It will be windy at this time of the year. It will be hard but hopefully we will be able to keep the yellow jersey,” the Dutchman said when asked about his chances on day two of the race today.
“I think local riders are also good. They are used to the conditions here. The are used to the temperatures here and the road conditions. The number two of New Zealand won the Tour of Sharjah. It will be hard,” Van De Vall added.
Van Uden was glad with his second-place finish.
“Yeah...I think it’s a good start to the Tour. I wanted to win the first stage here too but the time trial is always very tricky,” said Van Uden
He added: “It’s going to be a different tour from the last week in Sharjah with time bonuses for sprints and finish. I hope I can sprint well this week and my team-mates will support me. The Dutch and Austrian riders came up with the fastest times. Australian and UAE guys are also good riders. It should be an interesting racing here this week.”
Qatar’s Elbourdainy was disappointed to have missed out on a chance of impressing his home fans.
“Today, I had a good chance of a good show. Usually I do well over short distances,” Elbourdainy said.
The Qatari added: “I was eyeing first or second spot but I couldn’t do it because I slipped. I had a crash in the last corner. I lost key time with one or two seconds which make the difference over shorts distances. Maybe in the coming days I could do something.”
“I will ride. I have a good chance to do well at home. Maybe I can win the stage. I feel good. There was a film of dust and had too much of speed and my bike slipped. I have a leg muscle strain but it is normal. I should be fine,” Elbourdainy said when asked if he was going to pull out of the four-day race.
Today’s second stage will start at Barzan Towers at 11am and ends at Al Zubarah Fort at around 2pm. THE PENINSULA