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Feb. 10, 2015 — Dutch rider Niki Terpstra claimed Tuesday’s Tour of Qatar third stage, a 10.9-kilometer race against the clock, upstaging time-trial specialists Fabian Cancellara and Bradley Wiggins. Terpstra covered the time trial at the Lusail motorsport circuit in 14min 3sec to beat Cancellara by 8 seconds and world champion in the discipline Wiggins by 9.
Terpstra’s reward was to inherit the leader’s gold jersey in the race he is aiming to win for the second successive season. He has an 11sec advantage over Poland’s Maciej Bodnar. “There were lots of specialists, a good peloton. And I beat them all, it’s fantastic!” said Terpstra.
“I set off to put in a good time-trial for the overall standings … but winning the stage!” he said after another day’s action in difficult conditions.
“The wind was stronger even than yesterday, I knew it was going to be hard,” the 30-year-old added. “It was important not to start too quickly, especially as the final two kilometers were into the wind.”
Britain’s Wiggins said: “This is the first time I’ve put on the rainbow jersey (as world champion) since September. It’s always special, it’s a big event.” Wednesday’s fourth stage is a 165.5km ride between Al Thakhira to Mesaieed.
Etixx–Quick-Step has now won 8 races (7 road) in 2015.
Tom Boonen also is back in the Silver jersey as points leader (21 pts) following the stage. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, the Best Young Rider in 2014, finished 7th in the ITT (+20″). Etixx–Quick-Step is leading the Team Classification as well.
Etixx–Quick-Step looks next to 165.5km Stage 4, from Al Thakira to Mesaieed, on Wednesday.
“The victory is a bit of a surprise,” Terpstra said. “I was just going for a good time trial to move up in the classification. But it went so well I ended up with the stage win as well. At the beginning I wasn’t going full gas to save some energy for when I turned into the headwind.
“Then my Sport Director Wilfried Peeters was pushing me faster and faster until I was giving everything. I kept the speed until the finish line and I am now back in the Gold jersey as race leader. If you see the guys that are riding here, it is a really strong peloton with some time trial specialists such as Cancellara and Bradley Wiggins.
“So, it’s awesome to get a victory with such big competition. Now the goal is to keep the Gold jersey. First, I’m going to enjoy this win this evening with my teammates, and then we will plan for the next days. I have to pay attention all the time because with this race, if you lose focus for even a second and miss a move in the wind, and you are in the second group, your leadership is over. I had a good winter, the shape is good, and I am really happy with this result. I hope I can still improve in the months leading into the Classics, but I showed today I am going in the right direction.”
Results Stage 3
1. Niki Terpstra (NED/EQS) 14min 03sec
2. Fabian Cancellara (SUI/TFR) at 8sec
3. Bradley Wiggins (GBR/SKY) +9
4. Maciej Bodnar (POL/TFR) +9
5. Ian Stannard (GBR/SKY) +10
6. Matthias Brandle (AUT/IAM) +18
7. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (BEL/EQS) +20
8. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR/MTN) +21
9. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL/BMC) +24
10. Reto Hollenstein (SUI/IAM) +25
1. Niki Terpstra (NED/EQS) 7hr 53min 42sec
2. Maciej Bodnar (POL/TCS) at 11s
3. Ian Stannard (GBR/SKY) +12
4. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL/BMC) +19
5. Luke Rowe (GBR/SKY) +33
6. Alexander Kristoff (NOR/KAT) +36
7. Tom Boonen (BEL/EQS) +42
8. Heinrich Haussler (AUS/IAM) +44
9. Andriy Grivko (UKR/AST) +46
10. Peter Sagan (SVK/TCS) +48