By Susan Westemeyer
"It is simply unbelieveable," says Bernhard Eisel, the first man to beat World Champion Tom Boonen this season. The Francaise des Jeux rider outsprinted Boonen in the 4th stage of the Tour of Qatar Thursday. And it wasn't easy, he says. The race started fast and the peloton quickly divided into three groups, with Eisel being in the last one. About 20 km before the finish, he started working his way up. "Together with a team-mate I rode in the wind, we absolutely wanted to catch up." He caught up with the leading group 2 km before the finish line, "but I was actually much too far back and wouldn't have had any chance, if it wasn't for two Rabobank riders who rode by. I hung on behind them and let them pull me to the front." With 600 meters to go, he got on Boonen's rear wheel. He noted that not only was Boonen in the wrong gear, "Tom was also too early in the wind. It was a paper-thin decision, that ended up super for me. And now I'm all in!"
"I'm so happy. Now I know that I can do it and I don't have to worry about the next race," he continued. "After the race I had to think about a conversation I had before the start with Fabian Cancellara. I told him, I didn't have enough to win. But he just said, it can all happen very quickly, you just have to believe in yourself. And it worked!"