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Martin Kohler of the BMC Racing Team leads his breakaway companions during Stage 4. (Photo by Tim De Waele.)
Martin Kohler of the BMC Racing Team leads his breakaway companions during Stage 4. (Photo by Tim De Waele.)

Tour of Qatar, Stage 4: Kohler Makes Pre-Race Plan Reality

10. February 2010

AL KHOR Corniche

Unlike most attack-from-the-gun moves, Martin Kohler’s long breakaway with two others actually was how the BMC Racing Team drew it up for Wednesday’s fourth stage of the Tour of Qatar.

Making The Leader’s Team Work
Kohler and fellow escapees Jesse Sergent (Trek LIVESTRONG U23 Cycling Team presented by RadioShack) and Sep Vanmarcke (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator) jumped the field as the 90-mile (146 km) stage got underway. For the next 80 miles, they worked together – gaining a maximum advantage of two-and-a-half minutes – before being caught with fewer than 10 miles to go. “Our plan was to keep the Vacansoleil guys (the race leader’s team) working and with me being only 3:44 off the lead it was good one,” Kohler said.

Kohler’s Ride ‘A Good Sacrifice’
BMC Racing Team Director Sportif John Lelangue said he admired Kohler’s dedication to executing the plan he drew up in the pre-race briefing. The Swiss rider is no stranger to breakaways this season, having spent more than 60 miles in one on Stage 1 at the Santos Tour Down Under last month. “When you know there are so many kilometers to go and the probability is really weak to get to the finish with the sprinter’s teams riding after you in the final 20 kilometers, it is a good sacrifice,” Lelangue said. “It’s good to know we have riders like this who sacrifice themselves and make the leader’s team work hard all day.”

Murphy Scores Another Top 15 Finish
In the end, Francesco Chicchi (Liquigas-Doimos) won the stage in a bunch sprint ahead of Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo Test Team) and JJ Haedo (Team Saxo Bank). American John Murphy was the BMC Racing Team’s best-placed finisher in 13th place. With only two stages remaining and BMC Racing Team’s Marcus Burghardt sitting 2:05 off the lead of Wouter Mol (Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team), it remains to be seen whether the German can move up in the overall classification. He is only 10 seconds off third-placed Tom Boonen (Quick Step). “The problem is the wind is very low, which is unusual for Qatar,” Kohler said. “With not a lot of wind yesterday and today, things have been staying together until the end. So tomorrow, we’ll try and bring him (Burghardt) in the first echelon again and try and drop a few more guys.”