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Stage 5 traveled north past the Castle At Al Zubarah. (Photo by Tim de Waele.)
Stage 5 traveled north past the Castle At Al Zubarah. (Photo by Tim de Waele.)

Tour of Qatar, Stage 5: Murphy Gives It A Go

11. February 2010

Madinat Al Shamal

Not content with his two straight top 15 finishes at the Tour of Qatar, the BMC Racing Team’s John Murphy rolled the dice Thursday and threw down an attack in the final kilometer of Stage 5.

Headwind Foils Opportunity
Murphy was part of a group of 14 riders that shook free of the peloton after a breakaway group of six (which included BMC Racing Team’s Simon Zahner) was caught inside the final 19 miles (30 km). With him was teammate Marcus Burghardt, sitting fifth on the overall classification. With the lead group’s advantage hovering at only 10 seconds inside the final two miles, Murphy decided to make his move. “I hit out with about two kilometers to go to keep the pressure off Marcus,” Murphy said. “Unfortunately, it was a block headwind. I went clear, but didn’t have enough after the hard crosswind. We drilled it to get Marcus as much time as possible.”

Ballan Set The Stage
BMC Racing Team Director Sportif John Lelangue said a classic tactic by Alessandro Ballan freed Murphy and Burghardt’s group from the peloton. “When we made the turn at the Castle At Al Zubarah there was a big fight in the front of the group,” Lelangue said. “Ballan left a gap and they got the advantage." Though the group of 14 only gained a maximum lead of about 30 seconds, it did put pressure on Quick Step’s Tom Boonen, who was forced to chase to maintain his third place overall. "It’s too bad that group didn’t make it to the end, but it has been satisfying to see everyone working well together," Lelangue said.

Final Stage On Friday
With Murphy swarmed inside the final 500 meters, the inevitable bunch sprint ensued with Boonen scoring his second stage win ahead of Daniele Napolitano (Team Katusha ) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky Pro Cycling Team). The overall results following the 88-mile (142 km) stage remain unchanged. The six-day event concludes with a 77-mile (123.5 km) stage on Friday. Lelangue said it will be difficult to make a successful break, especially with the wind not blowing as hard as in past editions of the race. “Making top five at the Tour of Qatar bodes really well for the upcoming season,” he said. “With the exception of the first two guys – who took advantage of their breakaway on Stage 2 – all the rest of the names in the top 10 are the top guys in the classics.”