Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) took the sprint win from a compact lead group on stage two of the 2015 Tour of Qatar. The Norwegian Milan-San Remo champion and double 2014 Tour de France stage winner also takes the overall lead.
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By the finale, an elite group of 15 riders remained out front with Andrea Guardini (Astana) placing second behind Kristoff and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) in third. The outcome confirmed the race’s status as a serious warm-up for the classics contenders.
British riders Adam Blythe (Orica-GreenEdge) and Ian Stannard (Sky) both finished in the top 10 – in seventh and 10th positions respectively.
Overnight leader Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) was not part of the lead group, and so relinquished his position at the top of the table to Kristoff. Boonen sits in second place by just one second, with Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) in third at three seconds.
Luke Rowe (Sky) is the highest-placed British rider overall in 11th place, with Stannard in 12th and Blythe in 13th. All three are 10 seconds adrift of Kristoff.
Bradley Wiggins (Sky) missed the day’s decisive split to finish 109th and 9-18 behind Kristoff, although he will have his eye on Tuesday’s time trial stage.
Tour of Qatar 2015, stage two: Al Wakra to Al Khor Corniche, 194km
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha
2. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana
3. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing
4. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
5. Tom Boonen (Bel) Etixx-QuickStep
6. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
7. Adam Blythe (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge
8. Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing
9. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek Factory Racing
10. Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky all same time
13. Luke Rowe (GBr) Sky at same time
Overall classification after stage two
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha in 7-39-31
2. Tom Boonen (Bel) Etixx-QuickStep at 1 sec
3. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing at 3 secs
4. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana at 4 secs
5. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Etixx-QuickStep at 8 secs
6. Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing at 9 secs
7. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo at 10 secs
8. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling at same time
9. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek Factory Racing at same time
10. Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at same time
11. Luke Rowe (GBr) Sky at 10 secs
12. Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky at 10 secs
13. Adam Blythe (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge at 10 secs
33. Andy Fenn (GBr) Sky at 1-41
42. Scott Thwaites (GBr) Bora-Argon 18 at 3-18
94. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky at 10-01