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Martin Kohler and the rest of BMC worked well to protect their leaders in stage 3 (foto by Time de Waele)
Martin Kohler and the rest of BMC worked well to protect their leaders in stage 3 (foto by Time de Waele)

Fantastic teamwork keeps BMC in the hunt at the Tour of Belgium

29. May 2009

Temse

On a day where the Tour of Belgium was not going to be won but most certainly could have been lost, the BMC Racing Team worked together seamlessly in their efforts to defend their positions heading into the weekend of tough racing. 

While Borut Bozic was a repeat winner, the stage's expected sprint finish belies the difficulty and nervousness of the day's racing.  BMC succeeded however in keeping their places on the GC and their options open.  Now with two very tough stages coming at the weekend, they will be looking to make the most of the good form and savvy tactics which have characterized the team's performances in the last several weeks.

Fast start with Belgian teams looking for the breaks

Realizing that the day was more than likely going to end up in a final sprint, BMC was still interested in keeping a presence in any of the promising looking breaks.  However, the day's tactics played out in a way which nullified the potential success of just about any attempt to slip off the front of the pack.  "Today was another really fast day; I think we did almost 50km/h in that first hour," Brent Bookwalter reported.  "You could tell that the Belgian teams really wanted to get in the break today, because they weren't letting anything get away."  Though BMC worked hard to get into some of the early moves themselves, everything promising was promptly brought back by one of the teams that had been left out of the mix and by other riders trying to jump across to the moves.  When a break finally did separate itself, the calm in the peloton did not last very long.  "After a small move got away, things settled down for a few moments before heating up again as we neared potential cross wind sections and the cobbled sections on the finishing circuit," Bookwalter explained. 

Working to stay safe on final cobbled circuits 

The team can be proud of a very strong overall performance for a day which demanded that everyone stay alert and intent on taking care of each other.  The team was really put to the test when a mechanical nearly derailed Bookwalter's chances in the last cobbled section.  "Maybe 15km from the finish, Ian had to give me a wheel, Martin and Mathias helped me chase back onto the pack which was going full speed for the sprint, then Florian helped me gain position once in the pack," Bookwalter explained.  "Not ideal, but it all worked out ok.  Luckily the team was there and took care of me."  The effort made to regain Bookwalter's place in the pack, came at the expense of helping position Markus Zberg for the sprint.  "The sprint was once again chaotic and kind of sketchy," Bookwalter said.  "Markus really needed a guy or two to help him up at the front."   Though the mechanical gave Bookwalter a bit of a scare, it was a good chance for the group to prove just how flawlessly they work together under pressure and in adverse situations.  "It was good to preserve what we had on the day and go into tomorrow where there is sure to be some mixing up among the top places in the overall," Bookwalter affirmed.