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BMC Racing Team riders celebrate on the podium after winning the second stage of the 2013 Tour of Qatar, a 14-km team time trial along Al Rufaa Street in Doha yesterday. BELOW, LEFT: BMC Racing Team rider Brent Bookwalter of the US is presented with the leader’s jersey by Belgian cycling legend Eddy Merckx. BELOW, RIGHT: Bookwalter after pulling on the silver jersey.
DOHA: American rider Taylor Phinney yesterday exhibited fine sprinting form, helping BMC Racing to clinch the team time-trial on day two of the Tour of Qatar.
Phinney, who bagged the white jersey in Sunday’s first stage, has now provided BMC Racing the much-needed insurance of a good show going into today’s third stage.
On Sunday, BMC rider Brent Bookwalter clinched stage one to give his team the boost for yesterday’s stage held on Al Rufaa Street.
Yesterday, Team Sky promised much but ended the team time-trial five seconds slower than the winners.
Omega Pharma-Quick Step, which is missing defending champion Tom Boonen this year, was 10 seconds slower in the 14-km team time-trial.
Top British rider Mark Cavendish is leading the charge this week for Omega Pharma-Quick Step.
Since Bookwalter finished in the BMC Racing bunch for the day, he retained the golden jersey with four more stages to go in the six-day race.
“He really led us well today, not just with his pulls but with his leadership,” said Bookwalter after tackling the windy conditions yesterday.
“We’re going to enjoy today. It’s a big team effort, and we’ll come back out to do it again.”
The American rider said yesterday’s 14-km team time-trial was a gruelling affair for most riders.
“You felt everyone of those 14km like it was 20,” said Bookwalter.
“The team was just incredible. I’m beside myself… I think it was all for one, one for all today,” he added.
Adam Blythe is third at 10 seconds while Greg Van Avermaet is lying in fourth spot. Michael Schar is fifth. Van Avermaet and Schar are 10 seconds adrift of the leader.
Bernhard Eisel (Team Sky) is sixth (11 seconds) after taking some precious bonus seconds during stage one held between Katara and Dukhan Beach.
The Japanese National Team was the first down the start ramp for stage two yesterday and completed the short course in a time of 17mins and 55secs. The rest of the teams easily managed to overhaul the Japanese effort.
Meanwhile, Italian sprinter Sacha Modolo (Bardiani Valvole – CSF Inox) was forced to quit the Tour of Qatar after x-rays confirmed he fractured his scaphoid in his wrist, according to a report on www.cyclingews.com
Initial reports said Modolo had fractured his left scaphoid. The team, however, yesterday confirmed it was his right wrist.
Modolo went to hospital before the start of yesterday’s stage two team time trial.
On his return, his team-mates headed out for the 14-km test while Modolo prepared to return to Italy.
“Due to a distraction, I fell down trying to rider over a step,” Modolo said in a statement from the team. “I’m sorry for the team, I arrived here with a good shape and the aim to achieve some good results in Qatar and then in Oman. Now I have to recover as quickly as possible and reschedule the first part of season from scratch.”
Modolo travels to Italy today and hopes to quickly begin training on an indoor-trainer, the report added.
The Tour of Qatar continues today with the 143-km third stage from Al Wakra to Mesaieed, the same route that was used for day one of last week’s Ladies Tour of Qatar THE PENINSULA