Norwegian Alexander Kristoff sprinted to the fourth stage victory in the Tour of Qatar on Thursday, as his compatriot Edvald Boasson Hagen lost the overall leader’s gold jersey to Mark Cavendish.
Kristoff added to Tuesday’s second stage win by pipping his Katusha team-mate Jacopo Guarnieri and Belgian Greg van Avermaet to the line.
The 28-year-old, who won three stages and the points classification in Qatar last year, is now fourth and just nine seconds behind overall leader Cavendish.
Cavendish finished fifth to retake the lead he lost to his Dimension Data team-mate Boasson Hagen on Wednesday.
“Normally Cavendish will manage to protect his lead but you never know. We saw today, Edvald was leading by a lot but he had a bad puncture at the wrong time and then it was over, so the race is open again,” said Kristoff.
Boasson Hagen won the third stage, but he suffered a puncture on Thursday’s 189 kilometre ride and lost 45 seconds to Cavendish.
The Briton takes a slender two second lead over van Avermaet into Friday’s fifth and final stage to Doha, as he looks to regain the gold jersey that he first won in 2013.
“It was too fast up front, they were too far away and it was hard to get back,” said Boasson Hagen.
“But the guys did really well, a really good job. I’m impressed by the whole team. But shit happens.”