Tour of Qatar 2016 – Stage 5 Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

Tour of Qatar 2016 – Stage 5 Preview

By David Hunter

Sealine Beach Resort – Doha Cornice 114km

qatar 5

The race ends with the usual lap circuit in Doha Corniche. This is a familiar stage, with Demare winning in 2014 and Bennett in 2015. The GC is delicately balanced, with Cavendish leading Van Avermaet by 2 seconds, Quinziato by 6 and Kristoff is at 9. The puncture for EBH really was bad luck, but these things happen in cycling.

Dimension Data are still in a great position, thanks to having two riders high on GC. Just like in Dubai, there are many different permutations for the final stage, but a Cavendish podium will be enough to take the GC. GVA might go after intermediate seconds, but that will be rendered pointless, thanks to the bonus seconds at the end.

BMC only have one option, if they want to win the race. They have to drop Cavendish. This stage is not suited to this, so I think we’ll see them trying to get Van Avermaet as high as possible, in the final sprint. It doesn’t look like a day for the breakaway!

Katusha and Kristoff were brilliant in stage 4. They waited until Jumbo and BMC had destroyed the peloton, before putting the hurt on. To split the small bunch, inside the final kilometre, was sensational. The work of Bystrom, Kuznetsov, Morkov and Guarnieri cannot be underestimated. They put the win on a plate for the Norwegian! They will hope to repeat this again.

With fond memories of the stage, Sam Bennett is a dangerman. There has been a lot to like about his week, making the crucial splits on stages 1, 2 and 4. He also delivered a good TT in stage 3. Despite this, he will want a result as a reward for all the hardwork of his team. Dempster and Selig have been very impressive, but he needs The Mullet(Shane Archbold) if he wants to win a stage. He has one more chance.

It would be a big surprise to see one of the big three not take the win, but the wins of Demare and Bennett were shocks here. This is a stage where a lesser sprinter can surprise. Of all the other sprinters, Roy Jans has looked in impressive form. Wanty have put together a fast looking lead-out train for him, full of former sprinters. He will fancy his chances of causing an upset.

What increases he chances of a surprise, is the width of the finishing straight. Ending on a road that is very wide, makes for a messy sprint. Luck will play a huge part in any success, as picking the right train to be on will determine the winner. It might look like the right hand side is the fastest, but all of a sudden, another train goes faster on the left! Expect to see a huge drag race inside the last 2km, especially with a 180 degree turn, inside the final 2km.

Prediction Time

The run for home will suit Katusha and Kristoff, but the last 200m is perfect for Cavendish. I think we’ll see Cav take his second stage and equal the haul of Kristoff. I think he’ll come from Kristoff’s wheel and pass him on the line.

David Hunter

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