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Tour of Qatar - Discussion
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Posted on 08-12-2022 20:47
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Ulrich Ulriksen
Tour of Qatar



We are in the deserts of the Middle East for the 15th edition of the Tour of Qatar, which has become a must-do early season event for the alpha sprinters of the Pro Tour.

The course remains largely the same this year except the short time-trial is back to its traditional location as the race finale. Five pretty routine sprint stages make up the first five stages before the 3.9k test against the clock.

In terms of the sprint stages 5 sprinters appear to be the cream of the crop.

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/ela.png Coquard73748483
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/hsk.png Grosu73708380
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/isa.png Ewan75718381
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/iso.png Gaviria76768384
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/aeg.png Groenewegen73718281

All these five have a pedigree in this race. Coquard is the defending champion and has 2 stage wins, 3 other top five GC finishes and won the U25 competition. Grosu won this race in 2019 and has been in the top 5 the last two years and has also won 2 stages and 2 points jerseys. Gaviria was 2nd last year while winning a stage and Groenewegen has two GC fourths and a second to his name. Ewan hasn’t raced it recently but won the U25 competition the last time he did (2019). Ewan has the added pressure of replacing Mr. Qatar, John Degenkolb, in the ISA-Hexacta line up.

Those riders should dominate the sprints but there are a big cohort of slightly weaker riders who will be looking to play a part.
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/eav.png Van der Lijke73718279
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/hsk.png Van Poppel72718178
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/lph.png Manninen74758180
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/tti.png Samolenkov74718179
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/yor.png Cullaigh74708081
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/fpc.png Kemboi78778080
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/eav.png Moser72698079
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/ela.png Farantakis74728080
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/kng.png Hsu75708079
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/brs.png Silvestre78718081

Van Poppel, Moser and Farantakis will likely be providing leadouts but the rest of these will be competing for the win. Of these only Kemboi has any real history with the race, finishing 2nd in 2020 and 7th last year. Silvestre carries the hopes of the PCT as Bralirwa are the only wildcard team here.

Ben Swift isn’t quite strong enough for the favorites list this year but will represent Moser at the 2022 edition. He is one of the most decorated riders at this race with 8 stage wins and 2 GC’s to his name. Neutrals will be routing for the veteran to add to his legend.

Once the sprinting is done the race will be decide for 3.9k epilogue. The favorites for that stage are:

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/akm.png Andersen767483
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/kng.png Leung697182
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/pum.png Ganna697382
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/lph.png Zmorka627082
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/fpc.png Kemboi808081
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/ela.png Vlatos676681
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/grm.png Larsen777680
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/duo.png Howson646880
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/tti.png Yatsevich606380
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/lph.png Sütterlin596080
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/pol.png Viennet556480
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/ela.png Coquard848379
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/ela.png Farantakis808079
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/akm.png Hansen738079
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/eav.png Hepburn666979
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/eav.png Tanfield667279
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/tti.png Zakarin657079
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/fpc.png Cataford606979
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/tti.png Goldstein586179
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2022/Micros/ubs.png Haugard576779

Andersen is the top favorite and will be looking to take the Qatar TT stage for the 2nd year in arow. Sütterlin (2020) and Vlatos (2019) are also previous winners of this stage.

Coquard’s place on this list makes him the favorite to take the GC once again. Among the sprinters only his teammate, Farantakis, and Kemboi make this list. Coquard will want some to build some cushion over the Kenyan going into the epilogue. Sivestre and Mannien are also solid in the short TT’s and will be a threat if they do well in the sprint stages.



Man Game: McCormick Pro Cycling
Looking forward to this race. Usually a pretty good one for the team since Groenewegen is the main sprinter. As you wrote 2nd, 4th, 4th most recently due to consistency.

Last year though in general he missed that consistency, so not too sure about him here. Still nice to see him in that list of top5 where he clearly is on the weaker end though and then there still are the flat riders Kemboi/Silvestre making the startlist even harder.

The team has solid flat support in the full cobble squad plus Vansevenant, Schädlich and Sergent. So hopefully they can position him nicely.

With the amount of top prologue riders here, quite a few bonus seconds are needed to move up.
We're clearly here for the epilogue, and then also we hope Kragh can sneak into the bonus seconds on a couple of stages, as he has shown previous seasons in flat races/stages that he could do. Though, the field here is just as stacked as you would expect, making it harder to sneak into the top 10, I expect.

Without a sprinter, definitely hoping we ride aggressive and get up the road in breakaways!
Almost no expectations here...
Weakest squad i ever sent to this race.
A Big Thank You To All MG Reporters!

One of very few key races for us this season. On paper it all looks very nice, but we have often seen that us being a favorite is really not how the race turns out.

Coquard must end up in top 3 and get a stagewin in the proces, and then we obviously need to hope for Farantakis to sneak into the top 10 on 1-2 occasions to snatch up a good secondary GC spot. Vlatos needs to perform better than in Tasmania to begin adding up some points too. If we were to look at the best case scenario we could end up taking everything except for the KOM jersey. With Vlatos, Coquard and Farantakis in the top 10-15 GC favorites and adding names like Bouglas and Kortsidakis to the leadout, aswell as Kortsidakis, Stavrakakis, Ioannidis and Kiriakidis all being solid PRL riders it SHOULD be a good race.

From here on we can only dissapoint though! Last season was basically one big dissapointment - until the last stage when Coquard then suddently won - not only the stage but also the GC, and jumped high in the pts. I'll prefer it if we don't wait for quite this long this time, but consistency definately isn't for Coquard. I think Gaviria or Ewan will win this.
We're not here for points, obviously, but it would be really cool if Silvestre was able to score a couple of good results. A nice boost of confidence, if you will. Also, it's kinda funny to see Madrazo up there as our "captain" in the startlist Pfft He's got no real purpose here, but neither did anybody else that could have taken his spot, and I just want to have him race as much as possible.

Thanks for the preview, Ulrich. Good luck and have fun everyone!
Let's go Gaviria. New sprint train with Rickaert and Peak on their first adventure, gotta hope they work as good as they did last year. Great preview, normally it should be Coquard vs. Gaviria but we'll see...
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This year I decided to have Van Poppel lead out Grosu in a few races and this is one of them. Perhaps the most important one too.

With both van der Kooij and Van Poppel in the team, I'm hoping we'll let Grosu in the wind as late as possible, but we'll see how it goes. Hopefully, it won't backfire.
Manninen has to bring back the fans to Los Pollos, after the not so great performances from our leaders in Tasmania. A top-5 will not be super easy, but is definitely possible, so that's our goal from this race. We'll happily take a stage win, but theoretically also not the top favourites for that of course. Kemboi should be a dangerous outsider as well, aside from the top favourites. Thanks for the preview, Ulrich!
Hoping for Mundle and Teunissen to pull something crazy. Otherwise we're just spectators here.
Go go Mannien and Kemboi!
Indosat - ANZ HQ

"This Schleck sandwich is going to cause serious indigestion for Evans" - Phil Liggett
3rd is a decent start, but what does those intermediate sprints give? It doesn’t seem like they provide bonus seconds nor points for the green jersey, or am I missing something?
Nevermind. Missed Peng and Mundle for the 2nd sprint :-)
Awesome win for Mannien and Los Pollos! He is unstoppable.

A shame to miss out on the DVP-Grosu combo here though.
Indosat - ANZ HQ

"This Schleck sandwich is going to cause serious indigestion for Evans" - Phil Liggett
Cool to see Manninen winning on highest level as well here.

Very happy with Groenewegen in 4th, decent bomnus seconds. That said, it was unfortunate he was blocked there, guess he could have attacked for the win even if having a bit of room.
Would be nice to see a bigger breakaway or Groenewegen at least not going for small seconds there, which he most likely won`t get anyway though. Save your energy for the final.

Bad start for Ewan, Gaviria and Kemboi really. They will need to do better tomorrow.

Thanks for the report.
Wow, Manninen doesn't care if it's PCT or PT. Congratulations, Nemolito!

Nice to have Peng up in the breakaway. Unfortunate he couldn't keep up with the peloton after having secured both intermediate sprints, but we can't have everything Pfft

Thank you for rolling out the race, UU! Excited to see how the AI reacts and plays it here, considering the changes that was made for such races this off season.
Why isn't the intermediate sprints listed on the route btw? Tbh, I didn't think there was any such sprints this season.

Are there also KOM points on offer?
Manninen is a cheat code it seems, always is a mega rider. Congrats to Nemo for the win, it is needed! Also happy that Cullaigh is amongst it all and picked up 5th. Results may dip but I hope we can be consistent here.

Banana John St Ledger in Team Bunzl-Centrica and Team U25Banana

Red Bull Driver in RFactor
Manninen Banana

He starts the season the same way he did it in TDU last year, and I won't mind him getting another stage win and second in GC like he did over there Pfft

Saw another Los Pollos rider keeping him at the front just before the sprint started, and my guess (also by looking at the results) is that it was Ruiz, which is lovely to see.

Let's see how he performs with the pressure of the yellow jersey tomorrow. Thanks for the congrats to all and for the nice sprint report to Ulrich.
Is there anything this man cannot do?
Changed my sig, this was getting absurd.
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