Strava shows that stage one at the Tour of Qatar was pretty rapid

Manuel Quinziato's Strava file from stage one of the Tour of Qatar shows an incredible average speed over the 176km stage

Did you struggle in the good old British wind on your ride at the weekend? Spare a thought for the guys at the Tour of Qatar, where crosswinds, headwinds and tailwinds sweep across the desert, battering the riders hither and thither.

One way to counter them, it seems, is to ride really, really fast. Stage one, a 176km jaunt between Dukhan and Al Khor Corniche, was completed in double-quick time, with the riders taking just three-and-a-half hours to get it over with.

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Mark Cavendish, who won the stage ahead of Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida), crossed the line with an average speed of 50.583kph, according to Pro Cycling Stats.

BMC’s Manuel Quinziato, who finished eighth in the sprint, uploaded his ride to Strava immediately after the stage, showing his average of 49.9kph.

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In the intensity of the final sprint, Quinziato got up to an incredible 67.6kph, which equates to over 42mph – faster than many of us ever manage, even when descending a mountain.

Of course, the pan flat, perfectly smooth roads of Qatar help in the pursuit of speed, but keeping it going for three hours is no mean feat.