“Riders in orange” managed to avoid a crash, which happened on the final straight of Stage 2 of Tour of Qatar, and Tomasz Kiendyś took 9th on the line. In total three CCC Sprandi Polkowice finished in the top 20, as Alexander Kristoff sprinted for victory.
Here in Asia, almost every stage is very chaotic. The battle for good position starts right from the start and you have stay focused until the very end. Crashes, mechanicals and elbowing happen on a daily basis and it was also the case today. We slightly lost contact in a first part of racing, but then we recovered and came back to the main group. In the end me, Jarosław Marycz and Adrian Kurek were trying to find a safe position for the sprint, but the late crash forced us to go around it and think only about how not fall down. With 400 meters to go I was right behind the group which was sprinting for the win, but I was too far back to take up the fight for the podium – Tomasz Kiendyś said afterwards.
Stages in Qatar are completely flat, but so far the wind has had a big impact on racing and breaking the field apart. On the second day of competition, strong head and cross wind again played a big role and made things hard for everyone in the peloton.
The first hour of racing was much slower than yesterday, as the average speed, duo to head wind, was only 38km/h. In this conditions four riders tried to pull away – Lieuwe Westra (Astana), Preben van Hecke (Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise), Gediminas Bagdonas (Ag2R La Mondiale) and Brian Van Goethem (Roompot Oranje Peloton). They built up almost 2 minutes of advantage but the peloton started to chase early and caught the escape after only 35 kilometers of racing.
After taking the left turn and after change of direction of the wind, the pace in the bunch went up drastically and it caused the group to split into few pieces. 22 riders were part of the leading group and among them there was Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data), Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) or Andrea Guardini (Astana). CCC Sprandi Polkowice was not part of that composition, neither as the race leader, Marc Cavendish (Dimension Data).
The gap between the first two groups increased to one minute, but this time the leaders didn’t survive until the finish. Everything came back together with around 60 kilometers to go. Van Hecke made an attempt soon after, alongside Gatis Smukulis (Astana), but their maximum lead of one minute was not enough to outpace the Katusha-led pack.
They got reeled in with 15 kilometers remaining and it came down to a bunch sprint. It was interrupted by a crash on the finishing straight. “Orange squad” was not among those who went down and safely arrived at the line. Tomasz Kiendyś came in in 9th place, while Jarosław Marycz and Adrian Kurek claimed 11th and 16th respectively.
Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) won the sprint, beating Mark Cavendish. Roy Jans (Wanty – Groupe Gobert) rounded out the podium. Cavendish maintained his overall lead and Adrian Kurek sits in 20th place in GC.