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BMC Racing Team's Michael Schär (in white, at right) helped drive a five-man breakaway to the finish line. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)
BMC Racing Team's Michael Schär (in white, at right) helped drive a five-man breakaway to the finish line. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)

Tour of Qatar, Stage 1: Schär Third

9. February 2014

Swiss national road champion Michael Schär finished third for the BMC Racing Team after being part of a five-man breakaway late in Sunday's opening stage of the Tour of Qatar.

Saving For The Sprint
Schär said he didn't have the snap to match the sprint of stage winner Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Belisol), who was runner-up. "Those guys were definitely better sprinters than I am," he said. "So in the last 30 kilometers, I didn't do the longest pulls so I could maybe have something left against them. In the last kilometer, I was thinking of going, but then (Guillaume) Van Keirsbulck surprised us from the back. So then we just had a normal sprint. Third was not so bad for me."  The result was a career-best in six participations in Qatar for Schär, who finished seventh overall here a year ago.

Held Off The Chase
Schär, Terpstra, Roelandts, Martin Elmiger (IAM Cycling) and Terpstra's teammate, Van Keirsbulck, only had a 14-second lead entering the final 10 kilometers. But the five managed to hold off the chase as Terpstra took the victory by one second. The field sprinted in seven seconds later. With the time bonus awarded for his third-place finish, Schär sits 12 seconds behind Terpstra in the overall standings. Another road race on Monday will be followed by a 10.9-km individual time trial on Tuesday. "I am feeling pretty good," Schär said. "I feel like the shape is here. The whole team was pretty strong. Everyone was pretty much in the first echelon. This is a good sign for the whole week."

Wind A Factor
Sport Director Valerio Piva said the BMC Racing Team showed good initiative in the 135.5-km race, first with Martin Kohler being part of a small breakaway that enjoyed a six-minute advantage and later when the team had six riders in a front group of 50. Gusty winds right from the start played a factor throughout the day. "I'm proud of the guys," Piva said. "The team is strong and motivated. We will try again tomorrow. If we race like this on the other stages, for sure we will get a victory." Kohler, a past Swiss national time trial and road race champion, said the wind motivated him to get a spot in the early escape. "We went after maybe 25 kilometers," he said. "I wanted to attack so if there was a big split in the peloton, I would make the first echelon. So I did. I think it was a very good move for the whole team. It was a good day for us."

View photos from the race on our Flickr gallery.

Listen to complete comments from Kohler, Piva and Schär on the BMC Racing Team Audio Line.