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Tour of Qatar: Stępniak 16th on the last stage

Grzegorz Stępniak finished off Tour of Qatar with 16th place on the last day of racing. In a nail-biting bunch sprint finale Alexander Kristoff claimed another win. 

The final stage was at the same time the shortest one (excluding TT). It was 114 kilometers long and fast pace right from the start was expected.

Adrian Kurek was among the escapees the day before and he approached the last stage also with the attacking mindset. He was standing at the start line in the first row, with the thought of getting in the break.  This time he was unable to make it though. Those who did, were Steven Tronet (Fortuneo – Vital Concept), Jesse Sergent (AG2R La Mondiale ) and Tim Declercq (Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise). They were chased by alone Brian Van Goethem (Roompot – Oranje Peloton), but eventually he had to give up and return to the bunch.

The 3-man leading group gained a 4-minute gap over the peloton. They had to deal with a strong headwind and pushed really hard to maintain the lead.

The advantage was being systematically reduced and eventually the escape got caught with 12 kilometers to go. The field stayed all together until the very end and the race was decided in a bunch sprint finish. It was a tight duel between two fastest riders in Qatar – Alexander Kristoff and Mark Cavendish. They crossed the line almost at the same time and the winner was announced after reviewing the foto finish. Kristoff won by millimeters and it was his third victory in the race. Cavendish got second but could celebrate overall triumph. He was joined on the podium by Kristoff and Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing).

Grzegorz Stępniak sprinted for 16th and was the team’s top finisher. Adrian Kurek arrived in the pack and completed the 5-day event in 35th in GC (4:22).