Australian rider Michael Hepburn of Orica GreenEdge team, winner of the individual time trial at the Tour of Qatar, celebrates on the podium after receiving the prize from President of Qatar Cycling Federation, Sheikh Khalid bin Ali Al Thani in Doha yesterday. CENTRE: Silver Jersey winner Niki Terpstra of Netherlands receiving the jersey from General Manager of Skydive Team of UAE, Abdul Rahman Al Ameri. RIGHT: White Pearl Jersey winner Guillaume Van Keirsbulck of Belgium with the Director of Qatar Cycling Federation, Jamal Al Kuwari. PICTURES BY: SALIM MATRAMKOT
DOHA: Australian rider Michael Hepburn yesterday produced a slick time of 13 minutes 29 seconds to win stage three of Tour of Qatar where Dutchman Niki Terpstra retained the golden jersey by finishing in the top-10 bunch.
Hepburn, 22, of Orica GreenEdge finished the 10.9km individual time trial ahead of Belkin Pro Cycling team Lars Boom who was just one second slower than the Australian.
Italy’s Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff-Saxo) and veteran Swiss Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) were six seconds slower than Hepburn but Terpstra (8 seconds adrift) closed stage three in fifth spot to retain the golden jersey.
The 29-year-old Dutch rider said he could have done better
“Time trials always hurt because you’re fighting time and pain. It’s never easy but I felt I could put some power on the pedals,” Terpstra said after collecting another golden leader’s jersey.
“You never know how you’ve done till the result. The classement is good and I’m still the leader. Now we’ll see what happens in the other stages,” the Dutch said.
“The wind is the biggest problem. I have to stay awake all day with my teammates, so as not to miss a group. I have to stay in the front group and always defend the jersey,” the 29-year-old added.
Earlier, Hepburn - Australia’s time trial champion, confirmed his huge potential by finishing fastest of the day’s time-trial on the Tour of Qatar.
Beating Boom and Bennati on the 10.9-kilometre circuit of stage three, the Orica-Greenedge rider claimed his first success in Qatar.
Taking off among the early competitors on the day’s 10.9-kilometre circuit, set just by the Losail International Circuit, Hepburn hit hard by clocking a time of 13 minutes 28 seconds.
At only 22 years of age the Brisbane-born has now added a stage victory in Qatar to his national time-trial title and to his two successes conquered at the Tour de l’Avenir back in 2011.
Despite having set the fastest time at the half-way mark (6 minute 42 seconds), Boom proved to be slower on the second part of the course, finishing second on the line, just a second adrift.
In third spot was Italian Bennati 6 seconds behind.
Last man to start, overall leader and stage one winner, Terpstra managed a fine performance, capturing the fifth fastest time, just 8 seconds adrift.
The Dutchman keeps his golden jersey and now has a 21-second lead over Jurgen Roelandts (LTB) and 24-second advantage over Boom while four-time Tour of Qatar champion Tom Boonen (OPQ) dropped down to fourth spot.
With two stages to go on this 2014 Tour of Qatar, Terpstra will still need to battle hard but has an enjoyable advantage.
The 29-year-old also leads the points’ classification while his team-mate Guillaume Van Keirsbulck is the best young rider and will wear the ‘White Pearl’ jersey when the riders begin stage four from Dukhan to Mesaieed today.The Peninsula