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Tour of Qatar Stage 4

30. January 2008

Doha

Khalifa Stadium - Al Khor Corniche, 131.5 km

Wind, echelons and punctures
Though they did not find themselves transporting anyone to the hospital today, BMC had fewer things than usual to cheer about. “Today was not so good for us, we had a lot of punctures,” John Lelangue explained.  “Most critically, Tony Cruz punctured at one of the most difficult moments.”  The race had become very fast with echelons forming, winding up for the finale.  “When Cruz flatted we asked the whole team to wait for him.  Mike Sayers gave his front wheel to Cruz,” Lelangue said.  “Cruz and the rest of the team worked in the second echelon to rejoin the front of the race, but Quick Step was so strong at the front that the chase stalled.”

Getting their second wind
With the initiative gone out of the second echelon, BMC had to make something happen. “Tony and Martin Kohler attacked with a group of around eight riders to try and limit their losses,” Lelangue described, “but I should think they still lost at least 3:00.” With any hopes of high places in the GC lost, Lelangue predicted, “we will now concentrate on an attacking strategy.  Tomorrow is the longest day, and we will certainly show off our jersey and prove we belong in this race.”

Down to five riders
Unfortunately, the team will have to do without the instrumental leadership of Mike Sayers tomorrow.  “Mike has not been feeling well these past several days, so after he handed his wheel over to Tony, we decided that he should husband his resources and ramp up again for the next part of the season,” Lelangue explained.

Nydam and Bovay update
The best news of the day for the team is that Nydam is back training. “He rode nearly the entire stage today and has good sensations in his legs despite the painful abrasions from his crash,” Lelangue was relieved to report.  “And as for Bovay, we have arranged for him to fly home tomorrow morning so that he can undergo surgery on his clavical.”