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Taylor Phinney kept his lead in the best young rider classification. (©BMC/Tim De Waele.)
Taylor Phinney kept his lead in the best young rider classification. (©BMC/Tim De Waele.)

Tour of Qatar, Stage 4: Bookwalter Into Second

6. February 2013

BMC Racing Team's Brent Bookwalter surrendered the overall lead Wednesday at the Tour of Qatar when Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) won his second straight bunch sprint at the end of Stage 4.

No One Seriously Hurt In Crash
Bookwalter and a number of BMC Racing Team riders were held up by a crash in the final kilometer of the 160 km race, but all were awarded the same time as the peloton. A 10-second bonus that Cavendish earned for the win moved him into the overall lead, two seconds ahead of Bookwalter, who is now second. Four more BMC Racing Team riders fill out the next four spots: Taylor Phinney is third (eight seconds behind), Adam Blythe is fourth (nine seconds) and Greg Van Avermaet and Michael Schär are fifth and sixth, respectively (both at 12 seconds). No BMC Racing Team riders were seriously hurt in the crash and none finished in the top 10 of the stage.

Frightening Sprint Finishes
BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Jackson Stewart said when the peloton reeled in a three-man breakaway inside the final 10 km, the team worked to set up Blythe for the sprint. "But in the end, we just didn't have a good sprint," he said. "It wasn't the crash's fault. We just weren't together and Blythe wasn't there." Phinney, who kept his lead in the best young rider classification, said he was feeling "a bit battered and bruised" from going down in a crash on Tuesday but was still fighting to help position Blythe for the finish. "You get a stage where you're pretty much riding easy for three-and-a-half hours and then everybody is fresh for the sprint," Phinney said. "Fresh legs don't make for safe finishes. I would much prefer it to be like the first day when everybody was pretty tired from all the wind and the echelons. It's a lot less frightening."