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Alessandro Ballan (center) received a front-line call-up prior to the start of Stage 2. (Photo by Tim De Waele.)
Alessandro Ballan (center) received a front-line call-up prior to the start of Stage 2. (Photo by Tim De Waele.)

Tour of Qatar, Stage 2: Burghardt Climbs To Fifth Overall

8. February 2010

Alessandro Ballan and Marcus Burghardt represented the BMC Racing Team in the decisive group of Monday’s second stage of the Tour of Qatar, with Burghardt’s 10th place finish moving him into fifth overall.

Long Breakaway Stays Away

Two riders spoiled the day for the sprinters by successfully completing a breakaway that began at the start of the 91-mile (147 km) race and ended with Geert Steurs (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator Pro Cycling Team) earning the win over Wouter Mol (Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team). With Ballan and Burghardt helping drive a 20-man chase, the pair’s 23-minute lead was whittled down to less than two minutes by the end. “In the last six kilometers, there was an attack and Burghardt reacted while Ballan made sure he controlled the rest of the group so they didn’t make up time,” BMC Racing Team Director John Lelangue said.

Looking Ahead To Stage 3

Tuesday’s 85-mile (136 km) stage from Dukhan to Mesaieed promises to be another warm and wind-swept day of racing on wide-open desert roads. Lelangue said with Burghardt sitting 2:06 off the lead and Ballan only another 42 seconds back (in 12th place), the priority will be on maintaining their positions on the overall classification. “We have a good group with Michael Schär and Martin Kohler and John Murphy to protect those two guys,” Lelangue said. “Burghardt is our priority No. 1 but I think there will be guys eliminated every day. So if we can gain some places for Ballan and avoid having some other sprinters in the top 10, that will be good.”

Slight Scare For Murphy

Murphy, the U.S. national criterium champion, crashed into a team car while chasing back from a puncture. After being examined by the race doctor, it was determined the 25-year-old only suffered minor scrapes and bruises. “He has a little bit of pain in his left knee, but nothing is broken and it’s not serious,” Lelangue said. “But he will definitely have a sore knee tomorrow.”