Tour of Qatar Stage 3: Terpstra Protects Gold Jersey in Top 5 Finish, Three OPQS in Top 10
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Niki Terpstra did exactly what he needed to in order to wear the Gold Jersey at Tour of Qatar for another day. The Dutch rider finished 5th in the 10.9km Stage 3 ITT on Tuesday, 08" behind stage winner Michael Hepburn (ORICA-GreenEDGE) with a finishing time of 13'36".
Terpstra also finished 07" down on 2nd place finisher Lars Boom (Belkin ProCycling), who is trying to fight for the GC as he was placed 9th (+31") going into the stage. That gap was easily small enough to put Terpstra back in the leader's jersey for the third straight stage. He also still has the points jersey.
Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff-Saxo) was 3rd in the stage, +06" down.
OPQS also placed three riders in the top 10 for the third day in a row. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck continues to have a strong Tour of Qatar having also assisted Niki in his Stage 1 victory with selfless work in a breakaway. He finished 6th on Tuesday, 13" down on Hepburn. His hard work has placed him in the White Pearl Jersey for best young rider.
Gert Steegmans rounded out the top 10, 17" down.
Tom Boonen remains in the top 5 of the GC after the third stage, in 4th place (+28").
"I feel good but a time trial is never easy," Terpstra said. "I was always fighting against the time, against the wind, but I felt I had some power on the pedals. But you only know in the end how you did when the time shows up. I'm really happy I still have the lead in the GC. For tomorrow it's never a surprise that the wind is the biggest enemy. I have to be awake the whole day, together with my team, and always stay in the first group if and when the peloton splits. We'll do our best to keep the leader's jersey."