Heinrich Haussler finds a gap to take Qatar stage two
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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Heinrich Haussler finds a gap to take Qatar stage two

by Ben Atkins at 8:30 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Tour of Qatar
Australian squeezes past by the barriers and moves to with a second of the race lead

heinrich hausslerHeinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervélo) won the second stage of the Tour of Qatar between the Camel Race Track and Doha Golf Club. The Australian squeezed through a bap between Daniele Bennati (Leopard Trek) and the barriers to outsprint the Italian, with Denis Galimzyanov (Katusha) finishing third after taking a much more central route to the finish.

The 135.5km stage began with an almost immediate breakaway; five riders escaped after 5km in the absence of the characteristic strong Qatar winds as the course made its way north through the centre of the peninsular.

Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini-Neri), Manuel Quinziato (BMC Racing), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha), Jan Ghyselinck (HTC-Highroad) and Nico Eeckhout (An Post-Sean Kelly) managed to open up a gap of 5’30”; but the sprinters’ teams in the peloton were never going to give the stage away and reeled them in slowly as they approached the finish.

The chasing peloton was mostly led by the Rabobank and Team Sky as the lead dropped below a minute in the final 20km; with the breakaway in sight on the long straight highway into Doha the peloton eased up with the gap hovering between 40 and 50 seconds.

With 13.5km to go Visconti drifted over to the side of the road as if to get a wheel change, or merely to check the whereabouts of the peloton; with his hands loosely holding his bars he hit a cat’s eye (Botts dot) on the line that marked out the road’s shoulder and went down heavily. The Italian champion was still on the ground, holding his right knee as the peloton streamed past.

Having been doomed for several kilometres, the four remaining riders were caught at just under 8.5 to go by the Sky led peloton.

With the peloton now accelerating once more with the finish almost in sight Nikolas Maes (Quick Step), in the white jersey for best young rider, punctured with 6.5km to go. The 24-year-old got a quick wheel change but now faced a tough chase to regain the peloton, especially with the rest of his team looking after the interests of race leader Tom Boonen.

With no one team willing or able to take control of the peloton the front of it continually switched from one side of the road to the other. Despite a number of violent swerves though, there were no crashes.

With 2.5km to go Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) took control with the on behalf of Bennati and strung out the whole peloton behind him as it traversed a series of dusty roundabouts on the way to the finish. As the World time trial champion pulled over within the final 1.5km teammate Stuart O’Grady took over the pace.

As the sprinters began to open up a terrific surge from Gert Steegmans (Quick Step) brought Boonen forward; the race leader decided that Bennati was travelling faster though and switched wheels. Haussler was also following Bennati and with Boonen now on his left hand side the Australian elected to go right, through a narrow gap between the Italian sprinter and the barriers. Boonen found himself without a leadout and, after trying to re-accelerate, the Belgian sat up.

Because of the narrowness of the gap Haussler had to check his sprint but still crossed the line almost a wheel ahead of Bennati; apparently feeling the Italian had closed the gap Haussler crossed the line gesticulating towards the Leopard Trek rider. A late surge from Galimzyanov saw him take third place, just ahead of Theo Bos (Rabobank).

Haussler picked up a 10 second bonus on the line and so moves to with a single second of Boonen’s lead.

Result stage 2
1. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Garmin-Cervélo
2. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Leopard Trek
3. Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Katusha
4. Theo Bos (Ned) Rabobank
5. Roger Kluge (Ger) Skil-Shimano
6. Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step
7. Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Astana
8. Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre-ISD
9. Gert Steegmans (Bel) Quick Step
10. Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Leopard Trek

Standings after stage 2
1. Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step
2. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Garmin-Cervélo @ 1s
3. Mark Renshaw (Aus) HTC-Highroad @ 4s
4. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Leopard Trek @ 8s
5. Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Team Sky @ 9s


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