2015 Best Moments: Terpstra Wins Tour of Qatar Overall Again!
Etixx – Quick-Step had another successful season in 2015, with 54 road wins alongside 69 other podium places. Over the next weeks we will look back on the 10 biggest moments for the team in the 2015 season. We start with Niki Terpstra winning his second straight overall at Tour of Qatar.
Terpstra took the gold jersey by 6" over Maciej Bodnar (Tinkoff-Saxo) and 9" over Alexander Kristoff (Katusha). Teammates of Terpstra did a fantastic job keeping crucial intermediate sprints from Kristoff in the final stage, who was close enough in the GC to threaten Terpstra's race leadership between time bonuses and a possible Stage victory. But Tom Boonen, Iljo Keisse, and Matteo Trentin all contested the sprints and kept the crucial seconds out of the hands of anyone within seconds of Terpstra.
Iljo Keisse went on the attack with Gijs Van Hoecke (Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise) after the second intermediate sprint at kilometer 90.5 of the final stage, but both were brought back in anticipation of the bunch sprint finale.
Sam Bennett (Bora-Argon 18) won the stage, with Andrea Guardini (Astana) placing 2nd, and Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) finishing 3rd. Matteo Trentin and Tom Boonen were 7th and 8th.
Kristoff finished outside the top 10, preventing him from gaining any additional time on Terpstra. Terpstra finished 25th with the peloton, sealing his GC victory.
Terpstra also won the Stage 3 ITT of Tour of Qatar, which put him in position to win the overall. Etixx - Quick-Step, showing its dominance at the race, also won the Team Classification.
"It's satisfying," Terpstra said after his win in February. "I came here to defend the title, or for sure go for a good placement. The time trial went so well that I was in the lead, and the team did a great job to defend my leadership for the rest of the stage race. I was a bit nervous before the start because if Kristoff had a really good day, and he was doing well so far with three stage wins already, he could still pass me with the bonus seconds, but he didn't get that. The guys made Katusha work hard so they were tired, and in the end Kristoff was unable to win the sprint and take the 10 bonus seconds at the finish line. So, I took the win and I am happy. Between my two GC victories, they were both tough. It's never easy to win."
Terpstra said Tour of Qatar success has become a tradition for Etixx – Quick-Step.
"Look at the team we had this year, and we even won the Team Classification," Terpstra said. "Matteo Trentin was the 'smallest' guy on the team here, and he is actually not so small. We bring big, strong guys who are specialists in the windy conditions at Tour of Qatar and it shows every year. We have experience, and we know the roads here. It's a bit special."