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Splits cost Brammeier and McCann time in Qatar

Posted 07 February 2012

By Cillian Kelly,

Matt Brammeier and David McCann were both caught on the wrong side of a split in the peloton inside the closing kilometres of stage four of the Tour of Qatar which saw Mark Cavendish record his first  win as world champion.

The 146.5 kilometre stage from Dukhan to the Al Gharafa Stadium was characterised by strong winds which blew the peloton apart with just over 30 kilometres to go.

Brammeier (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) was especially unlucky to be caught out having put in a hard day’s work to protect the interests of his teammate and race leader Tom Boonen during the earlier part of the stage.

The Irish champion was stranded in the second group with McCann as the Garmin-Barracuda team of second placed overall Tyler Farrar took control of the front group of 40 riders in blustery conditions.

The escape group containing Boonen, Farrar, Cavendish (Team Sky) and a handful of other sprinters put 1’29” into the chase group by the time they reached the finish.

Peter Sagan was among the big GC contenders to lose out as his Liquigas-Cannondale team were left to do most of the chasing in the second group on the road.

Boonen opened the finishing sprint and looked to be powering towards his 20th Tour of Qatar stage win with all but 50 metres to go.

Cavendish though, was not to be outdone and he proved that he has fully recovered from a recent bout of illness when he powered past the Belgian for his first ever win as world champion.

The Manxman has also moved up to third place overall thanks to a time bonus and is now just eight seconds behind Tom Boonen who retains the race leader's golden jersey.

Brammeier was disappointed at being caught out by the split which caused him to drop from 13th to 40th place overall and at missing the opportunity to assist Boonen in the sprint.

“After a long stint pulling on the front I lost almost 100 position in 10 seconds. The usual Qatar battle left me in the second group,” he said afterwards.

“I am disappointed I couldn’t help Tom in the finale. Second place and the gold jersey is still something to smile about. Good job,” he added.

McCann meanwhile improved slightly to 96th overall where he lies 3’12” off the lead.

Tomorrow's Stage four will see more of the same flat windswept action as the peloton travels 160km from Al Thakhira to Madinat Al Shamal.

Results:

Tour of Qatar

Stage 3 (Dukhan - Al Gharafa Stadium) Tour of Qatar 2012

1. Mark Cavendish (Sky) 3:23:48
2. Tom Boonen (OmegaPharma-QuickStep) s.t.
3. Aidis Kruopis (GreenEdge) s.t.
4. Mark Renshaw (Rabobank) s.t.
5. John Degenkolb (Project 1t4i) s.t.

82. David McCann (Irl) RTS Racing Team at 1'29"
98. Matt Brammeier (Irl) OmegaPharma-QuickStep s.t.

General Classification after Stage 3

1. Tom Boonen (OmegaPharma-QuickStep) 6:47:49
2. Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Barracuda) at 6"
3. Mark Cavendish (Sky) at 8"
4. Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Barracuda) at 12"
5. Thomas Dekker (Garmin-Barracuda) s.t.

40. Matt Brammeier (Irl) OmegaPharma-QuickStep at 1'45"
96. David McCann (Irl) RTS Racing Team at 3'12"

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