Queensland’s Michael Hepburn, who rides for Orica, has won stage three of the Tour of Qatar, beating Lars Boom by a minute.
Australia’s Michael Hepburn has won stage three of the Tour of Qatar.
The Queenslander, who rides for Orica, covered the 10.9km course in 13 minutes, 28 seconds.
Lars Boom (Belkin) posted the second quickest time, one second slower than Hepburn, while Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff-Saxo) was six seconds further adrift in third place.
Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma) of the Netherlands retained the yellow jersey after finishing fifth in Tuesday’s stage.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Hepburn, who was wearing the Australian champion’s jersey for the first time, after winning the national time trial in January.
“Right from the start, it was a really proud moment to ride in the national colours for the first time.
“I rode early in the race, so I had to wait a while to see what my time would get me.
“Towards the end, when I realised that maybe I would win, the nerves really started to pick up.”
He said he’d been training over the last couple of weeks with this stage in mind, and wanted to complete a solid ride.
“There are some big names here,” he said. “I’m pretty stoked to finish on the top.”
The wind-swept, snake-shaped course featured several different changes in direction.
Riders started with a crosswind, finished with a headwind and had a cross-tailwind between the two.
Hepburn posted a negative split, completing the second half of the race faster than the first.
The reigning world champion in the individual pursuit likened a short time trial to his efforts on the track.
With specific preparation for the stage, he felt confident in his ability to produce a strong ride.
However, it had been unclear how his ride would compare to the likes of Boom, Terpstra, Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) and Ian Stannard (Team Sky).
“I knew exactly what I had to do,” Hepburn said.
“I had a clear idea of the power I had to produce, and I was confident I could do that.”