Bleak day for IAM Cycling and BMC Racing Team at Tour of Qatar
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Monday, February 10, 2014

Bleak day for IAM Cycling and BMC Racing Team at Tour of Qatar

by VeloNation Press at 1:43 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Qatar
Both squads miss out on crucial break, reset ambitions for remaining stages

Tour of QatarTwo of the teams who were gunning for a high overall finish in this year’s Tour of Qatar saw their chances go up on smoke on today’s second stage, with the BMC Racing team and IAM Cycling now having to limit their ambitions to stage wins.

IAM’s Martin Elmiger rode strongly on yesterday’s opening stage and started today’s second leg in fourth place overall. However ambitions of winning the race overall dissolved when he was brought down by another rider, being delayed and eventually rolling home a disillusioned 57th, two minutes and 28 seconds back.

That left him 38th overall, his GC ambitions gone for this year.

“We lost everything in just a few minutes,” said directeur sportif Kjell Carlström. “We completely missed out on this stage. We must take the lessons from today and learn never to repeat our mistakes. If we can do that, then this will be important.”

Elmiger wasn’t the only rider to miss out; in fact, each of the eight riders on the team lost time. “The deciding factor came after 110 kilometers when a crash in the peloton delayed most of our riders,” said Carlström, pointing out that Omega Pharma Quick Step ramped up the pace at the same time.

“Only Matteo Pelucchi was able to get himself back into the second peloton on the road. But he was then hit with a puncture which forced him out of the group with Greipel and company. Elmiger, Goddaert, Haussler and Hinault were ensconced in the third group. Considering the wind, it was impossible for them to get back to the front of the race.”

He said that he believed that Elmiger could ride well in tomorrow’s time trial, using that as a test to compare his form against others in the race. After that, he said the team will do what it can to try to win a stage.

The BMC Racing team will have to adopt the same approach too after its eight riders were delayed by a crash. The one with most to lose was the Swiss national road champion Michael Schär, who had been third overall heading into the stage. “I made a big sprint to get to the second echelon,” he explained, talking about his reaction after the mishap. “Then at the second sprint of the day [which came 35 kilometres from the line – ed.], we were only five seconds behind the first echelon and I thought we could close it. But somehow we didn't organize ourselves enough.”

He is now fourteenth overall, one minute and three seconds behind the ongoing race leader Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma Quick Step).

Team-mate Philippe Gilbert had been on the attack earlier in the stage. He also found himself in the wrong place when the chaos occurred.

According to the team’s directeur sportif Valerio Piva, the general classification has almost completely disappeared for the riders, but they will continue to race aggressively.

“We will try again. We lost the battle, but not the war. From the beginning, I told the riders it is important to win a stage here because the GC will be decided with Tuesday's time trial and we really don't have a specialist for it. There are still two days after tomorrow, so we will keep trying for a victory.”


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