Tour of Qatar: Course change reconnaissance puts BMC's Adam Blythe into white
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Sunday, February 05, 2012

Tour of Qatar: Course change reconnaissance puts BMC's Adam Blythe into white

by Ben Atkins at 12:05 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Qatar
 
Red and black team checked out new stage finish as roadworks forced a move from Doha Golf Club

adam blytheAs soon as it was announced that roadworks had necessitated the move of the finish of the first stage of the Tour of Qatar, from the Doha Golf Club to the nearby New Atlantic College, BMC Racing Team directeur sportif John Lelangue had his riders check it out. The experienced Belgian took the red and black team’s sprinters out after dinner last night to reconnoitre the new route, which, the team believes, was instrumental in putting Britain’s Adam Blythe in second place on the stage.

"We went out and looked at the final three kilometres," Blythe explained. "I don't think many people knew how far it was from the top of that little rise to the finish. I knew I had to be in the top five or three before that. So it helped that I knew what position I had to be in."

Despite a crash for the team’s other sprinter, former World champion Thor Hushovd, along with Klaas Lodewyck, it was a good finish to the stage for BMC Racing. Blythe is now in the white jersey, as best young rider, and is just four seconds behind Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s stage winner Tom Boonen in the race for gold.

The second stage of the race will be an 11.3km team time trial, in a circuit to and from Lusail; with such a short gap to Boonen it is all to play for, but Lelangue is under no illusions as to how hard the task will be.

"It's going to be a pretty tough one," said Lelangue. "The course is like a big cross, so there will be change of direction with the wind.”

Just two seconds behind Blythe, in both the white, and gold jersey standings, is Slovakian champion Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale); with the green and blue team’s history in the team race against the clock, Blythe will have to look behind him, as well as ahead.

“It will be pretty difficult,” Lelangue conceded. “There are some roundabouts you have to take at full speed but we'll try to make a good race. We're taking things day-by-day."

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