Saxo-Tinkoff and BMC reflect on their work on the third stage of the 2013 Tour of Qatar:
The 143 kilometer long third stage of Tour of Qatar from Al Wakra to Masaieed ended up in a chaotic bunch sprint where Omega-Pharma Quick Step’s Mark Cavendish was the fastest of all.
Unfortunately, Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Karsten Kroon was involved in a crash after only 18 kilometers of the stage and was brought to the hospital immediately:
“Karsten was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time and was brought down in a 20 rider pile-up. His thigh was cut up and he had a flesh wound. Naturally, we hope that the injury is purely muscular but we’ll be awaiting to hear more from the hospital soon,” said DS Lars Michaelsen after the stage.
Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) took the Stage 3 bunch sprint win at the Tour of Qatar Tuesday, but the 10-second time bonus gained was not enough to unseat race leader Brent Bookwalter of the BMC Racing Team.
Wind Not A Big Factor
When seven riders escaped early in the 143-kilometer race on a looping circuit, the BMC Racing Team worked hard to keep the gap from growing too large. Yannick Eijssen, who helped Cadel Evans win the Critérium International last year, said it was not a difficult day. “We had things under control,” he said. “On the (BMC timemachine) TMR bike I rode, you definitely go faster, so that helped. Also, the wind was less than it was the first day. It’s not enough to make echelons to the finish. I think it is going to be like this every day for the last three days.” Cavendish moved into fourth overall, eight seconds behind Bookwalter, while BMC Racing Team’s Taylor Phinney (six seconds back) and Adam Blythe (seven seconds behind) remain second and third overall, respectively.
Five In The Top 10
On the eve of Wednesday’s 160 km stage, the longest of the six-day race, Bookwalter said he is not concerned about losing his lead. “We’re still in a good place with five guys in the top 10 and two of them – Taylor and Adam – who are really good in the sprints,” he said. BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Jackson Stewart said having so many strong riders so close to the lead (Greg Van Avermaet is fifth and Michael Schär is sixth, both 10 seconds back) does give the team options. “We have a lot of cards to play,” Stewart said, “but if we keep waiting for the sprints, we give away 10 seconds every time we don’t win.”