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“Today was a hard day to be on the front with a strong headwind all day long. The plan was to sprint for Marcel but he had already said yesterday that he was struggling a bit."

Photo: Sirotti

MARCEL KITTEL

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NIKIAS ARNDT

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TEAM SUNWEB

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TOUR OF QATAR

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11.02.2015 @ 15:10 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Nikias Arndt sprinted to third place on the fourth stage of the Tour of Qatar, taking the team’s first podium position of the race so far. The stage was the race’s first bunch sprint after a long day into headwinds, after the previous stages were heavily influenced by the presence of strong crosswinds.

 

The team’s plan evolved throughout the day from initially planning on sprinting with Marcel Kittel, but with Kittel not feeling 100% he opted to ride for Arndt instead and the mantle passed to the younger of the two German sprinters to take on the final push to the line in Mesaieed. In a frantic rush for the line, Arndt managed to hold his position after being well positioned by his teammates but he lacked the final watts to overcome Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) who took his second stage win of the week.

 

With time splits occurring in the peloton behind the lead sprinters, Arndt gained time on those around him on GC and moved up two places, putting him into the top 20 overall.

 

 

After the stage, Arndt gave his thoughts on the day: “We decided during the race that we would sprint for me and it was a great experience to have the lead-out that we have here. I had a similar lead-out in Norway but this was pretty incredible. We made a perfect and very detailed plan before the race and it actually all worked out perfectly.

 

“In the sprint I was level with Kristoff for a while but in the last 50m I lost ground and just before the line Sagan passed me too. I’m really happy with the teamwork we showed today and to have the experience and pressure of the lead-out at the end.”

 

Team Giant-Alpecin coach Marc Reef added: “Today was a hard day to be on the front with a strong headwind all day long. The plan was to sprint for Marcel but he had already said yesterday that he was struggling a bit and during the stage we spoke and decided to go for Nikias.

 

“There were three guys up the road today and we helped chase with Stammie to prepare the sprint at the end. Marcel adapted well into the train and all the guys did a good job in the final to get Nikias where he needed to be to have the best shot at a stage win. In the end it was third but it was good to be there challenging and a good opportunity for Nikias to learn from having a full lead-out.”

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