Tour of Qatar 2015 – Stage 6 Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

Tour of Qatar 2015 – Stage 6 Preview

By David Hunter

Sealine Beach Resort – Doha Corniche 124.5km

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We head into the final stage with the GC still all to play for. Niki Terpstra leads Maciej Bodnar by 6 seconds and Alexander Kristoff by 11. Bodnar isn’t really a threat but Kristoff is. There are 10 bonus seconds available for the winner of the stage and 3, 2 and 1 at two intermediate sprint points. This is going to be a nervous day for Etixx and Terpstra.

Katusha need to take an intermediate sprint but will they try and hold the race together and take the first one, or chase the break down before the second sprint? It’s an interesting choice but be sure that Etixx will not roll over and give away the jersey. They will make life very hard for Katusha and attack to try and steal the seconds.

Even if Kristoff takes seconds, he still has to win the stage. Peter Sagan was very close today and will fancy his chances in the final stage, especially if Kristoff has burned up energy throughout the stage.

The end of the stage is a closing circuit of 10 laps. This will interest quite a few of the sprinters who are suited to the aggressive style of racing required to be successful, in these stages. Two names that spring to mind are Nacer Bouhanni and Sacha Modolo. Both riders are among the best at holding position and are fearless. This type of finish is perfect for them. Modolo won the final stage in Beijing, on a lap circuit, and Bouhanni won a similar stage in the Giro. Both riders need their lead-out men in top condition. Richeze and Soupe have not been great but they are finding form. If they can get it right, their sprinters have a great chance. Neither rider will be scared of Kristoff and both know they have the pace to beat him. Can they finally get it right?

All the sprinters will be looking forward to the stage, thanks to a much lighter wind and an easier day in the saddle. Guys like Ruffoni, Demare, Guardini, Arndt, Blythe, Haussler, Rojas, Bennett and Van Poppel will all believe they have a chance and why not!

Marcel Kittel has not been feeling great and has been riding in support of Nikias Arndt. If the big German has recovered this should be his stage. He’s the fastest sprinter here but after suffering over the last few days, it’s going to be hard to turn it on for one stage.

Alexander Kristoff has had a brilliant week. 3 stages wins and he must been very impressed with his early season form. Taking 4 stage wins would be an excellent achievement for him and he has to start as the favourite. Can he deliver the stage and GC?

Prediction Time

It should be stage number 4 for Kristoff but these sprints can often be chaotic. If the lead-out trains get mixed up look for the streetwise sprinters to step up, with Bouhanni and Modolo two massive threats. I’ll take a bit of a risk and go with Nacer Bouhanni.

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David Hunter

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