Tour of Qatar 2014: stage one - five observations

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Tour of Qatar 2014: stage one – five observations

Flanders, twinned with Qatar, high times for Endura, and more


Lotto bottle

The success of the underdog is sweeter than any. RCUK holds a special affection for Lotto Belisol, one of two Belgian teams in cycling’s elite UCI WorldTour, and unlike its rivals in turquoise and black, bereft of a billionaire sugar daddy to bankroll the transfer of the biggest names in the sport, luxurious team buses, and entire battalions of staff dedicated to the pursuit of marginal gains.

Lotto Belisol may not be the best-funded team in the WorldTour peloton, but their riders, like Jurgen Roelandts, wear the jersey with pride (pic: Sirotti)

Heartening, then, to see Jürgen Roelandts among the breakaway on the opening stage of the Tour of Qatar when deployed principally in the service of Andre Greipel: a role in which he excels, despite being the team’s leader for the northern Classics. Much as Greipel went on the attack at the Ronde and Roubaix last year to soften the field for his Belgian colleague, so Roelandts became the third rider from a Belgian team among the five-man breakaway to Dukhan Beach.

Despite competing against rivals with vastly greater resources, Lotto-Belisol, with funding from the Belgian stage lottery and a window firm, continue to hold their own against opposition with vastly greater resource, armed with little more than talent and determination. In the heat of Australia and now Qatar, the men in red have shown their mettle. Long may they continue to do so.

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