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Confusion in France and Qatar

By:
Jeff Jones, Bikeradar.com
Published:
February 03, 2005, 0:00 GMT,
Updated:
April 20, 2009, 23:44 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News for February 3, 2005

Although not quite as chaotic as the finish of the GP d'Ouverture La Marseillaise , where two...

Although not quite as chaotic as the finish of the GP d'Ouverture La Marseillaise, where two breakaway groups were sent the wrong way around a roundabout in the finale, Stage 2 of the Tour of Qatar was not without incident. Although Quick.Step's Tom Boonen won the stage, his team director Wilfried Peeters said that he had to do an extra long sprint due to poor signage.

"Tom won the sprint of [the leading] group, ahead of Guidi and McEwen," said Peeters. "Things almost went wrong because of the insufficient signals (there are no banners in Qatar, but balloons on which the distances are mentioned). Because of this, Tom jumped from 300 metres before the finish line. Nevertheless, it was a splendid victory."

Team CSC's director Alain Gallopin agreed with Peeters that "Boonen seems alarmingly strong" and also raised questions about McEwen's sprinting. "Lars [Michaelsen] did a tremendous job for Guidi [2nd], and it was literally a question of centimetres, and Guidi would've taken the victory. Guidi was almost hit by McEwen a couple of times in the sprint, and that was probably what did it in the end. But nonetheless we managed to prove once again that we have a couple of fast guys who're able to keep up when it counts. Boonen seems alarmingly strong, but Guidi is not far behind and it'll be exciting to see whether we're able to keep our spot in the overall standings," said Gallopin.

His words proved to be more than prophetic when CSC dominated the third stage by placing six riders in the main break of 17, which included Boonen and McEwen, then finishing it off by having five riders in the final break of seven. CSC finished 1-2 in the stage and now occupies the first three positions on the general classification.

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