The BMC Racing Team capped off the Tour of Qatar Friday with two riders in the top five on the final stage, two on the final podium, the best young rider jersey and victory in the team classification.
Final Stage Fireworks
Adam Blythe and Taylor Phinney finished fourth and fifth, respectively, on the last stage while teammate Brent Brookwalter placed second overall and Phinney was third overall behind race winner Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), who won his fourth straight stage. The 40 seconds Cavendish earned in time bonuses placed him 25 seconds ahead of Bookwalter and 26 seconds ahead of Phinney in the final standings that included five BMC Racing Team riders in the top 10: Blythe was fourth, Greg Van Avermaet was sixth and Michael Schär was seventh. Phinney said a “game of chess” played out in the last 116 kilometers of the race. “Team Sky was trying to control things to move Bernhard Eisel up on the GC (general classification),” Phinney said. “In the first intermediate sprint, I gave it my all to come around him in the bonus sprint. You don’t see people normally sprinting like that in the middle of a stage. We did a great job as a team to neutralize any damage Sky was trying to do to us on GC.”
Testament To Teamwork
Phinney won the best young rider title – the first jersey classification of his professional career – and the BMC Racing Team captured the team title on the strength of winning Monday’s opening stage (Bookwalter) and the Stage 2 team time trial. “The team time trial was our proudest moment,” BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Jackson Stewart said. “To put everything together on that day was really great.” In addition to the aforementioned riders, Steve Cummings, Yannick Eijssen and Larry Warbasse were members of the winning team. The team classification was the BMC Racing Team’s second in that category this season, adding to one won at the Tour de San Luis last month. Bookwalter said the eight riders in Qatar set some big goals but easily surpassed their own expectations. “The squad we had here probably would not have been picked for the kind of success we had this week,” he said. “So it’s a good testament to believing in each other and working hard together. With that kind of attitude so much can happen.”