It was fast, it was chaotic, there were echelons and worrying reports of lonesome warriors. Oh YES! The opening stage to the Tour of Qatar certainly lived up to its reputation.
Tour of Qatar, Stage 1, Dukhan to Al Khor Corniche, 176km
After a savage opening stage, which left an elite group of 16 riders to fight for the victory, Mark Cavendish finally got his first win for new team Dimension Data. He timed his surge for the line to perfection, holding off both Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) and Astana’s Andrea Guardini. Bonifications from the intermediate sprints put the Manx Missile into the gold leader’s jersey by 8secs and he also donned the silver points jersey. Soren Kragh Andersen took the pearl best young riders jersey for Giant-Alpecin [He’s a Dane! I was afroth with excitement].
You know the racing is hard when the peloton is in tatters within the first hour, these tweets sum up a day on the Qatari roads.
Here’s the closing kilometres with French commentary. The flamme rouge action starts at around 16:20.
Header image: Mark Cavendish, Dimension Data – Maillot or / Gold Jersey © Qatar Cycling Federation / Paumer Kare Dhelie Thorstad (From race website)