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Garmin wins team time trial

RAAJIV TRIPATHI

DOHA GARMIN- BARRACUDA zoomed to victory in the Team Time Trial at the Tour of Qatar on Monday.

The American team covered the 11.3-km course at the Losail International Circuit in the first place, edging Omega Pharma- Quick Step and Sky Procycling in relatively friendly conditions.

Garmin cleared the course in 12 minutes and 38 seconds. Omega Pharma – Quick Step finished seven seconds adrift of the winner and Sky Procycling was further two second behind in the third place.

Overnight leader Tom Boonen of Omega Pharma – Quick Step managed to beat Tyler Farar of Garmin by three hundredths of a second to retain the yellow jersey.

Omega Pharma –Quick Step was aware of the fact that it has to be within seven seconds of the time that Garmin clocked and it just about managed to accomplish it.

But the victory of Garmin, who was fifth to start, moved Farrar into seconds place. BMC Racing’s Adam Blythe who was just four seconds behind Boonen on Sunday, slipped to 22nd place, being 13 seconds behind Boonen.

Peter Sagan of Liquigas- Cannondale dropped from yesterday’s third to 14th with a 12 seconds difference.

Lithuanian rider Ramunas Navardauskas took away Blythe’s White Jersey as well. Garmin’s four other riders – Johan van Summeren, Ramur Navardauskas, Thomas Dekker and Robert Hunter – are almost breathing on teammate Farar’s neck, being three seconds away in the General Classification (GC).Boonen was delighted to be still hanging on to the yellow jersey.

“It was a great effort by the team and I am really happy to keep the lead. We did a very good job until the last four Kms. There was a tail wind and the plan was to go fast on the way back. I think the last one kilometre is where we lost the time trial.

“But like Sunday, a finish in the top three would been a very good job but we had to aim for the highest with these guys and try to win.

We tried hard and lost to a very good team like Garmin.

Boonen is desperately wishing to get the conditions tougher as it may pose a big challenge for other riders. “We have to be happy as we have a few young guys but we still did well. But I hope we have a windy day coming up in next three days. It will make it a little bit easier for us. Otherwise we are just in for more of the same and it will be hard to keep winning because of all the top sprinters we have in this race.” Farrar was extremely pleased with his performance and recovery.

“We did a good job today and I’m pretty happy with the way things have gone so far. However, we will have to see how it goes in the remaining week. It won’t be easy with Boonen around.

“It’s my first time out this season and I definitely still have a few kinks to iron out so I am really happy to be where I am,” the American said. “We’ve been working on a few things as a team over the winters, including our time trial tactics, and this has been our first chance to test ourselves.”

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