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Tour of Qatar Stage 5

31. January 2008

Doha

Bouncing back on the offensive

The BMC Racing Team has had to deal with more than their fair share of bad luck during this Tour of Qatar.  Today was no different; however the mood on the team is decidedly more upbeat.  “After the unfortunate puncture that lead to Tony Cruz's loss of his position in General Classification, the strategic plan for today was to be represented in100% of the significant breakaways of the 170km stage,” Gavin Chilcott reported after the stage.  “The riders embraced the plan and found their places near the front of the peloton.  They also took
initiative throughout the day and we were well represented in the majority of the moves,” Gavin was pleased to relay.  John Lelangue reiterated, “It was good to see the guys in shape and fighting for every breakaway.”

Crash in the final meters takes out Cruz, others

The deciding breakaway of around 35 riders included Tony Cruz, who has had good legs all week here in Qatar.  With no tactical responsibility amidst the larger Pro Tour teams that controlled the breakaway, Tony was able to conserve and focus on the finish.  “As he entered the Al Khor Corniche with two kilometres remaining, he found himself with good momentum that brought him to the ideal spot in the sprint on the wheel of New Zealander Julian Dean,” Chilcott elaborated.  “At 300 meters to go, everything looked perfect.”   Sadly, Dean became entangled with another rider that resulted in a significant crash that not only included Dean, but also Tony Cruz, a Tinkoff rider, and Dean's lead-out man, Magnus Backstedt, among others.

The team remains upbeat

“So, the day was a significant step in the team's apprenticeship here in Qatar, albeit without an easily-quantifiable end result,” Chilcott philosophised.  “We're now focused in the final stage of the race, where our plan again will be to stay on the offensive.”  Martin Kohler, one of the young Swiss neo-pros, said after the race, "I am so angry that I was not in the break today, and I am also sad that this race is almost over.  I will attack a lot tomorrow."     Chilcott and Lelangue are very pleased with that attitude.  “If our young riders complete the Tour of Qatar with a deeper understanding of how the upper echelons of cycling function, and finish with a belief that they will have a place within the top level, then at least one component of our mission here has been fulfilled,” Chilcott said.

Tomorrow attack!

“Though the final stage typically ends in a mass sprint, we will certainly be taking part in the race’s attacks,” Lelangue predicted.  “We will also be concentrating some resources on getting one of our three sprinters into a winning position.”  Lelangue continued, “Today we had some more bad luck which certainly cost Tony a podium place for the stage, but tomorrow is February 1st, so maybe all our January bad luck will be over.”