Niki Terpstra of Netherlands (centre), overall winner at the Tour of Qatar celebrates on the podium along with second place finisher Tom Boonen of Belgium (left), and Roelandts Jurgen of Belgium in Doha yesterday. RIGHT: Stage six winner Arnaud Demare of France, celebrates. PICTURES BY: SALIM MATRAMKOT
DOHA: French rider Arnaud Demare yesterday won the sixth and final stage of the Tour of Qatar where in-form Niki Terpstra Omega Pharma-QuickStep (OPQ) stormed to the title win for the first time.
Demare unleashed a devastating sprint to win the 113.5kms near the seafront at Corniche watched by hundreds of cycling fans. Two years ago, Demare had clinched a stage at the same place.
The French rider finished the stage ahead of Italy’s Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff-Saxo), Austria’s Bernhard Eisel (Team Sky) and Belgium’s Tom Boonen (OPQ) and Argentina’s Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team).
Terpstra, who finished in 41st spot yesterday, easily secured his maiden Tour of Qatar title after dominating the six-day race which also featured four-time champion and OPQ team-mate Tom Boonen.
“I think since the first Tour of Qatar, QuickStep was good here, so we’ve got a name to keep up,” Terpstra said after being crowned winner.
The Dutchman enjoyed an untroubled final day in the gold jersey and safely crossed the line in the main peloton.
“I’m happy to have the gold jersey now, but even down to the last lap it was stressful because if you have a small accident you can lose time and the jersey is gone,” Terpstra said.
Terpstra maintained his lead of 17 seconds over Boonen.
Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto-Belisol) - one of the week’s most impressive all-round performers - was a further three seconds slower than Terpstra.
“Of course, in these races with the wind, to attack is the best defence actually,” Terpstra told cyclinews.com.
“If you start to make an echelon, then most of the time you get in there with the majority of your team. That is what we did.” As simple and as complicated as that,” he added.
Yesterday’s stage brought to an end 10 days of cycling extravaganza in Qatar.
Dutch rider Kirsten Wild last Friday cemented her place as the ‘desert queen’ by winning the Ladies Tour of Qatar for the fourth time in the event’s six-year history.
Wild, the Giant-Shimano rider, won the fourth and final stage ahead of double world champion Giorgia Bronzini of Italy and dashing young rider Melissa Hoskins of Australia to wrap her Doha visit on another impressive note.
The 31-year-old, winner in Doha in 2009, 2012 and 2013, successfully defended her title with a sublime finish at Corniche in what were extremely under chilly conditions in the Qatari capital.