Tour of Qatar: BMC Racing Team extends Brent Bookwalter’s lead with TTT victory
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Monday, February 4, 2013

Tour of Qatar: BMC Racing Team extends Brent Bookwalter’s lead with TTT victory

by Ben Atkins at 8:55 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Tour of Qatar
American team fastest over super-flat, exposed Al Rufaa Street course

bmc racing teamThe BMC Racing team won the second stage team time trial of the 2013 Tour of Qatar, on Al Rufaa Street, to the west of the city of Doha, to extend the overall lead of stage one winner Brent Bookwalter. The American team finished with the minimum requirement of five riders, with Bookwalter accompanied by compatriot Taylor Phinney, Briton Adam Blythe, Belgian Greg Van Avermaet, and Swiss Michael Schär; completing the flat, fast 14km course in a time of 16 minutes and seven seconds, to go four seconds faster than the British Sky Team.

Team Sky’s time of 16’12” had been good enough to eclipse the previous best, set by Omega Pharma-Quick Step just two teams before. The British team was only to spend a few minutes in the hot seat, however, until the BMC Racing Team was faster still.

"My biggest worry was that we would get too excited and blow guys up," Bookwalter said after the stage, referring to the fact that BMC Racing was nine seconds behind Team Sky at the halfway point. "I felt like we already had a consistent pace and we were actually cautious on the turnarounds. So maybe we lost a couple seconds there. But I was confident the energy we saved was going to come through near the finish. Taylor and Michi [Schär] were ridiculously strong at the end."

Due to budgetary and logistical reasons, the race was ridden on normal road bikes, with riders wearing ordinary road helmets.

The Japanese National Team was the first down the start ramp, and completed the course in a time of 17’55”, which was to prove very easy to beat by the following teams. Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox promptly lowered it by 49 seconds, setting 17’23” but, although this stood up to the effort of Chinese team Champion System, it was beaten shortly afterwards by Cannondale; the Italian team set a new best time of 16’31” - almost a minute faster - but Astana immediately went seven seconds quicker with 16’24”.

Astana’s time was to hold for a few minutes, with neither AG2R La Mondiale, nor Saxo-Tinkoff able to beat it, but the RadioShack-Leopard team - which included four-time World time trial champion Fabian Cancellara - finished in 16’18” to go six seconds faster.

The Luxembourg team’s time was good enough to hold off NetApp-Endura, IAM Cycling, Vacansoleil-DCM, Argos-Shimano, Katusha, and Orica-GreenEdge, but the next team was World team time trial champion Omega Pharma-Quick Step. The Belgian team, whose past performances in the discipline had laid the foundations for some of the four victories of Belgian champion Tom Boonen, managed to go a single second quicker than RadioShack-Leopard, with just three teams still to ride.

French team FDJ could only manage 16’30, to slot into provisional sixth place, but Team Sky was next to finish, and the British team - which won the equivalent stage three years before - set a time of 16’11”, which looked like it may have been good enough to win.

BMC Racing was still on the course, however, and, having used the power of Steve Cummings, Yannick Eijssen and Lawrence Warbasse, and left them behind on the course, crossed the line with its remaining five riders in 16’07”; going four seconds quicker and take the stage.

With the overall standings so close after the opening stage, the BMC Racing Team’s five riders occupied the top five positions after the team time trial, with Bookwalter six seconds ahead of Phinney. Blythe led Van Avermaet and Schär, ten seconds behind the American, while Team Sky held the next five places, with Bernhard Eisel 11 seconds down.

"It's just not me who is wearing the leader's jersey, I feel like it's the whole team," said Bookwalter. "Those guys made it happen today and I'm just honoured to be the one wearing it."

Result stage 2
1. BMC Racing Team (USA), 14km in 16’07”
2. Team Sky (GBr) @ 4s
3. Omega Pharma-Quick Step (Bel) @ 10s
4. RadioShack-Leopard (Lux) @ 11s
5. Katusha Team (Rus) @ 15s
6. Team Astana (Kaz) @ 17s
7. Orica-GreenEdge (Aus) @ 23s
8. FDJ (Fra)
9. Cannondale (Ita) @ 24s
10. Team Saxo-Tinkoff (Den) @ 26s
11. Argos-Shimano (Ned) @ 30s
12. AG2R La Mondiale (Fra) @ 33s
13. Team NetApp-Endura (Ger)
14. IAM Cycling (Swi) @ 37s
15. Vacansoleil-DCM (Ned) @ 51s
16. Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox (Ita) @ 59s
17. Champion System (Chn) @ 1’15”
18. Japanese National Team (Jap) @ 1’48”

Overall standings after stage 2
1. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team
2. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team @ 6s
3. Adam Blythe (GBr) BMC Racing Team @ 10s
4. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
5. Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team
6. Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team Sky @ 11s
7. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky @ 15s
8. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky
9. Mathew Hayman (Aus) Team Sky
10. Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky


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