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"In the sprint André Greipel lost the wheel of his teammates and so he was in 30thposition after the last corner before the finish. He couldn't sprint for the win today," sports director Bart Leysen says

Photo: Sirotti








14.02.2014 @ 19:08 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Lotto Belisol ended an otherwise highly successful Tour of Qatar on a bitter note when André Greipel failed to make an impact on the final sprint in Doha. Nonetheless, the team celebrated a good week that included a stage win for Greipel and a GC podium for Jurgen Roelandts.


When Lotto Belisol hit the front inside the final kilometre of today's final stage of the Tour of Qatar, all was set for a repeat for André Greipel's resounding stage win one day earlier. However, the world's best lead-out train had the unusual experience of getting swamped at the finish when Michael Mørkøv (Tinkoff-Saxo) formed a rival train in the other side of the road.


With Greipel being unable to sprint for the win and ending the stage back in 49th, people were left wondering what had gone wrong for the usually faultless Lotto Belisol machine. According to sports director Bart Leysen, it was a mistake in the final U-turn just 1.6km from the finish that derailed the team's plans.


"In the sprint André Greipel lost the wheel of his teammates and so he was in 30thposition after the last corner before the finish," he said. He couldn't sprint for the win today."


Greipel's result in today's stage may have been a disappointment but it cannot erase the impression of a successful Lotto week. Jurgen Roelandts finished 3rd on GC after having finished in the top 3 on the first two stage while Greipel was only narrowly edged out by Tom Boonen in stage 4. In addition to Roelandts, both Greipel and Marcel Sieberg finished in the top 10.


Nonetheless, Leysen was left wondering what might have been.


"In the first stage Jürgen Roelandts possibly should have been more cunning, he finished second now," he said. "A day later he was third, Boonen was just too strong in the sprint. In stage 4 Greipel could have won the sprint from Boonen, it was very close. So we could have gone home with three victories.


"But I'm very satisfied. We came to win a stage and get a good GC and we succeeded. I'm also happy that everyone got through this Tour of Qatar in one piece. It has been dangerous the past days with the echelons, riders were really pushed to the side of the road. There are  three of our men in the top ten of GC. That proves that our riders are in good shape and that's good with the classics in mind."


Lotto Belisol will continue racing in the Tour of Oman where Greipel will again be looking for more sprint wins on the flat days in the hilly sultanate.



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