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Crashed during the 2nd stage in Qatar: Scott Nydam
Crashed during the 2nd stage in Qatar: Scott Nydam

Tour of Qatar 2nd Stage

28. January 2008

Doha

The BMC Racing Team headed into the event's first road stage today, starting in Al Zubara and finishing 137.5 km later at the Doha Golf Club.

Before the stage, Gavin Chilcott reiterated the management’s confidence in the condition of the riders, and laid out the basic tactics for the stage.  “The race will start along the north-western tip of Qatar travel more than 20km of strong cross winds. This section will probably be where the decisive events of the race take place,” Chilcott explained. “Our riders will do their best to fight for position and find their way into the first echelons as the field fragments.”  Chilcott then went on to point out that, “this will be followed by a long tailwind section before a second important cross wind section from Qatar's main North-South highway to the city of Al Khor.”

The strategy

With the logistical problems that the wind and terrain will offer, Chilcott laid out the team’s strategy, “Our strategy is more open for the late sections of the stage, where the nature of our roster allows us to be responsive to the outcomes of the preceding 120 or so kilometers.”  With such fluidity in the race conditions, it is hard to plan for a particular outcome, however Chilcott explained, “We hope to be able to either have a rider in the lead group, or to position a sprinter in the finale if a large group comes to the line together.”

Fast stage

Chilcott’s predictions for the stage proved to be quite accurate as John Lelangue explained after the race, “It was a fast stage from the start with the strong cross winds shredding the field.  We had a lot of technical difficulties with punctures and things like that which made the stage stressful for the mechanics.”  But the team worked well together and managed to place two riders, Tony Cruz and Danilo Wyss, in the first group with only 30km remaining in the stage.  “Unfortunately, after he made it in the selection, Danilo had two punctures and was unable to regain his position in the fast-moving first group,” Lelangue reported. 

Double punctures

With only 25km remaining, Quick-Step took the initiative, made a new echelon in the heavy cross winds, and without any team mates to help, Tony just missed being in that final move.  Boonen won the stage and Tony finished about 30 seconds adrift. Lelangue philosophised, “We can be pleased that the guys were riding strongly, and those that missed the important moves missed them more due to technical problems like punctures – and even double punctures at the same time.”

Nydam crashed

One very sour note for the team came with the crash of Scott Nydam.  He is out of the race, but the good news for the team is that the first tests indicate that there is nothing broken and he never lost consciousness.  Lelangue explained, “I’m off to the hospital now to check his condition.  We’ll know more in a few hours, but nothing major seems to have been injured.”