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Hepburn Claims TT Victory on 3rd Stage of Qatar

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ASO / Yuzuru Sunada

Already Australian time-trial champion this year, Michael Hepburn confirmed his potential by finishing fastest of the day’s time-trial on the Tour of Qatar. Beating Lars Boom and Daniele Bennati on the 10.9-kilometer circuit of stage 3, the Orica-Greenedge rider claimed his first success in Qatar. Fifth today, Niki Terpstra keeps his overall leader’s Golden Jersey.

Taking off among the early competitors on the day’s 10.9-kilometer circuit, set just by the Lusail Race track, Micheal Hepburn (OGE) hit hard by clocking a time of 13’28. At only 22 years of age the Australian from Brisbane adds a stage victory in Qatar to his National time-trial title and to his two successes conquered at the Tour de l’Avenir back in 2011.

Despite having set the fastest time at the half-way mark (6’42), Lars Boom (BEL) proved to be slower on the second part of the course, finishing 2nd on the line, just a second adrift. In third spot was Italian Daniele Bennati (TCS), 6” behind.

Last man to start, overall leader and stage 1 winner, Niki Terpstra managed a fine performance, capturing the fifth fastest time, just 8” adrift. The Dutchman keeps his Golden Jersey and now has a 21” lead over Roelandts (LTB) and 24” over Boom while Boonen (OPQ) drops down to fourth spot.

With two stages to go on this 2014 Tour of Qatar, Terpstra will still need to battle hard but has an enjoyable advantage. The 29-year-old also leads the points’ classification while his team mate Guillaume Van Keirsbulck is the best young rider and will wear the White Pearl Jersey tomorrow between Dukhan and Mesaieed.

Tour of Qatar third Stage: 10.5km time trial at the Losail motor circuit.

1. Michael Hepburn (AUS/Orica) 13min 28sec
2. Lars Boom (NED) at 1sec,
3. Daniele Bennati (ITA) 6s
4. Fabian Cancellara (SUI) 6
5. Niki Terpstra (NED) 8
6. Martin Elmiger (SUI) 10
7. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (BEL) 13
8. Philippe Gilbert (BEL) 15
9. Jens Mouris (NED) 16
10. Gert Steegmans (BEL) 17
Selected
15. Tom Boonen (BEL) 22

Overall standings
1. Niki Tersptra (NED/Omega Pharma) 6hr 57min 06sec
2. Jurgen Roelnadts (BEL) at 21s
3. Lars Boom (NED) 24
4. Tom Boonen (BEL) 28
5. Ian Stannard (GBR) 35
6. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (BEL) 45
7. Michael Morkov (DEN) 49
8. Marcel Sieberg (GER) 49
9. Stijn Vandenbergh (BEL) 58
10. Andrew Fenn (GBR) 1:06