Tour of Qatar 2015 – Stage 1 Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

Tour of Qatar 2015 – Stage 1 Preview

By David Hunter

Dukhan – Sealine Beach 136km


The race opens with a ride straight across the desert! The most important factor in all these stages is the wind. We can expect a 12mph wind, coming from the South-East. That means we will have some cross wind action and echelons! Predicting the weather is never an exact science, if the wind is slightly more from the East, then it will be a head wind and no echelons.

If the wind does split the peloton, then we should be in for a treat. We have Kittel, Sagan, Bouhanni, Demare, Kristoff, Guardini, Bos, Modolo, Bennett and Van Poppel. A potential battle between Bouhanni and Demare would be great to see, something that might become a common theme in 2015.

Looking at sprinting form from 2014, this should be a fight between Kittel and Kristoff. Kittel didn’t perform well in the TDU and has spoken about easing himself into the race. This is Kristoff’s first race of the year, so form is unknown.

Andrea Guardini comes straight from the Dubai Tour. He was looking fast but lacked a proper lead-out. Battling against Sky and Etixx proved too much for him and he failed to take a win, but did look promising. Due to the high number of sprinters it might actually be easier here. With so many sprint trains, it’s likely that no one will dominate and this will help Guardini. The additions of Bozic and Grivko will also provide much needed speed in the closing kilometres.

Expect Danny Van Poppel to be much better than 2014. He now has one of the best lead-out riders, Gert Steegmans. His experience is vital and will help the young sprinter to reach the next level. He loves sprinting after a tough day, so he’ll be hoping for some wind.

Speaking of wind, Etixx – Quick Step will certainly be looking to create havoc in the bunch. They don’t have an out and out sprinter, so they have to reduce the size of the bunch for Tom Boonen. There other option is to support Matteo Trentin. Remember, the young Italian won a sprint in the 2014 Tour de France. Do not underestimate him, he’s quick!

Prediction Time

I think the wind will blow and Etixx will destroy the peloton. They will then look to attack with Terpstra, if it doesn’t succeed, Tom Boonen will take the sprint.

If the wind doesn’t split the bunch, I think the recent racing Guardini’s had gives him a huge advantage and I think he’ll win.

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