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The BMC Racing Team helped control the peloton for race leader Brent Bookwalter. (©BMC/Tim De Waele.)
The BMC Racing Team helped control the peloton for race leader Brent Bookwalter. (©BMC/Tim De Waele.)

Tour of Qatar, Stage 3: Bookwalter Still Leads

5. February 2013

Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) took the Stage 3 bunch sprint win at the Tour of Qatar Tuesday, but the 10-second time bonus gained was not enough to unseat race leader Brent Bookwalter of the BMC Racing Team.

Wind Not A Big Factor
When seven riders escaped early in the 143-kilometer race on a looping circuit, the BMC Racing Team worked hard to keep the gap from growing too large. Yannick Eijssen, who helped Cadel Evans win the Critérium International last year, said it was not a difficult day. "We had things under control," he said. "On the (BMC timemachine) TMR bike I rode, you definitely go faster, so that helped. Also, the wind was less than it was the first day. It's not enough to make echelons to the finish. I think it is going to be like this every day for the last three days." Cavendish moved into fourth overall, eight seconds behind Bookwalter, while BMC Racing Team's Taylor Phinney (six seconds back) and Adam Blythe (seven seconds behind) remain second and third overall, respectively.

Five In The Top 10
On the eve of Wednesday's 160 km stage, the longest of the six-day race, Bookwalter said he is not concerned about losing his lead. "We're still in a good place with five guys in the top 10 and two of them – Taylor and Adam – who are really good in the sprints," he said. BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Jackson Stewart said having so many strong riders so close to the lead (Greg Van Avermaet is fifth and Michael Schär is sixth, both 10 seconds back) does give the team options. "We have a lot of cards to play," Stewart said, "but if we keep waiting for the sprints, we give away 10 seconds every time we don't win."