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Alessandro Ballan (center) and Marcus Burghardt (right) will be two of the BMC Racing Team's protected riders at the Tour of Oman. (Photo by Tim de Waele.)
Alessandro Ballan (center) and Marcus Burghardt (right) will be two of the BMC Racing Team's protected riders at the Tour of Oman. (Photo by Tim de Waele.)

Inaugural Tour of Oman Offers More Challenges

13. febbraio 2010

Muscat Corniche, Oman

While the first running of the Tour of Oman promises to be a bit of an unknown, BMC Racing Team Director Sportif John Lelangue knows this much: the outcome is likely to be decided by the final day’s individual time trial.

More Challenging Terrain Than Qatar
The six-day race begins Sunday night and covers 426 miles (687 km), including an 11.5-mile (18.6 km) individual time trial on Friday’s last stage. Located on the southeastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula, Oman’s terrain is much more undulating than the flat, windswept roads that characterized all six stages of the Tour of Qata that the BMC Racing Team wrapped up Friday. “The big difference will be the time trial,” Lelangue said. “The start is really hilly. So it will be interesting to see the strategy day-to-day.”

The Protected Riders
With Marcus Burghardt (fifth) and Alessandro Ballan (12th), the BMC Racing Team put two riders in the top 15 on the final standings at Qatar. Lelangue said the pair will be the team’s protected riders, along with Michael Schär, who is also a formidable time trialist. “We know we have some strong riders, so we’ll try to focus on (protecting) those guys. The nice thing is that no one has done this race. It’s totally new for everyone.”

Murphy Sprinting Well
If John Murphy had any doubts about being able to sprint with the likes of some of the world’s fastest, they were quickly put to rest with his performances for the BMC Racing Team at Qatar. The American notched three straight top 15 finishes, including 10th in a chaotic dash to the line in Friday’s final stage. “With a kilometer to go, I seemed too far back, but I caught a surge and was able to get back in the sprint,” Murphy said. “If only it had happened 20 seconds sooner.” Lelangue said Sunday night's 38-mile (61 km) circuit race provides Murphy with the ideal chance to notch another good result.

BMC Racing Team Roster
Alessandro Ballan (ITA), Marcus Burghardt (GER), Alexander Kristoff (NOR), Martin Kohler (SWI), John Murphy (USA), Michael Schär (SWI), Jackson Stewart (USA) and Simon Zahner (SWI).

Sports Director
John Lelangue (BEL)

Assistant Director Sportif
Fabio Baldato (ITA)

Staff
Mechanics: Kevin Grove (USA) and Ronald Ruymen (BEL); Soigneurs: Kaycee Evans (USA), Graeme McCallum (RSA) and Trudi Rebsamen (USA).