I'm *sneaky peaking* whilst working from home.
OK, here we go, it's Team Time Trial action in Qatar today. This is a good thing as it means even I should be able to keep up with the commentary and the action. Should be interesting as OPQS are the current world champions for the time time trial, though obviously not this Qatar lineup. BMC have Taylor Phinney in his best young rider jersey, as well as the leaders gold jersey and the silver points jersey. All these lovely items can take as much as 10 secs off a time apparently #randomfactoftheday1. AND it's a first outing this season for Fabian
According to steephilltv, Stage 2 will be 'a short, 14km team time-trial with no traditional TT equipment as usual for this event.'
So, no skin suits,odd shaped helmets, and TT bikes then I guess. They have taken the times for the best three riders for each team, in order to sort out the running order for the TTT. That means BMC are in pole position and will go last (does that make sense?). Also the finish time is taken as the fifth rider crosses the line.. Ie the teams can afford to loose 3 riders round the course. The best teams will finish in a beautiful straight line across the road, lets see who gets that right shall we??
My objective for today:
Hone my distinctly dodgy skills at spotting the finish line.
First team off is:
NOOO, the internet has hung, come on page reload...
Phew, action back. Wait, skin suits are def present, but are teamed with road race helmets and bikes as matching accessories.
The Japan Team, home in 17.22
Astana next with no Jakob :(. When oh when will I see him in turquoise and yellow?
Not many shots of them out on the course as the Leopard boys are hogging all the live feed
Over the line in 16.24
Cannodale out on the course, looking great in bright green skin suits. Should suit Sagan later on the in the season.
Home in 16.31
Missed the start but they are home in 16.33. Not so good for Matti, but he looked mighty fine and I'm sure Jakob would agree.
Agri 2 Mondial
The brown and blue kits are home in 16.40
Leopard at the start, come on Fabs.
Out on the course and all 8 riders are forming that well drilled TTT train, Fabs has been training them hard all winter.
The action stays with them almost exclusively, and we are treated to several nice shots of Fabs bottom ;O
RLT looking a bit ragged there, all 8 riders strung out instead of in two nice rotating lines of 4
Two of the riders are off the back and lost contact, team down to 6
Lost another, down to 5
Up to the line and into 1st place with 16.18
Net APP Endura lining up with Russ Downing
Over the line in 16.44
IAM lining up, they have a second place on GC to defend.
One cyclist off the back, rest of them looking tight
IAM approaching the finish with five riders and finish in 16.44
VacancSoleil DCM on the line
and over the finish in 16.58
Argo-Shimano at the start line
still out with 8 riders and rolling well so far
Finish at 16.37
Katusha are away
and cross the line in 16.22
Orica Greenedge start
Five over the line arrive in 16.30
OPQS line up
Smooth start. By the way, there is no no rolling down a ramp in Qatar, just 8 bikes and riders lined up in a straight line,with 8 men holding on to the seats of the bikes. Just like a track start, so should suit Cav then :)
Now that RLT have finished, most of the live feed is concentrated onto these boys, and Cav in particular. Have to say they are looking good so far....
... NOOO - PHONE CALL AT WORK - double drat
I'm back, but sadly the time trial has finished. Live feed just shows two men in suits with random highlights of various teams. Oh bother, and it was going so well too :(
Can't believe I have missed the OPQS finish and didn't see Sky or BMC at all. Perhaps this is divine justice for the *sneaky peaking*
From what I can make from the highlights. .....
OPQS did well and came in before the Leopard boys with a time of 16.17. Chapeau Cav, though he was starting to look very red, bless
Sky. Have to say, the all black skin suits with blue highlights look great in the desert sunshine :) Blooming fantastic ride, all the boys put their heart and soul into it. Bernie's gritting his teeth, Luke Rowe, Matthew Hayman, Eddy and Ian Stannard are gunning it, and Geraint is leading them home in fine style, there are six riders across the line in... yes! 16.12. Fastest yet with just BMC to go.
BMC. Worryingly good, Brent looks great with his leaders gold jersey on, and Taylor has his usual rock solid style while wearing the best youngest rider outfit. They are protecting Brent a little, he's not doing all his turns at the front. But he's hanging in there and really pushing for the line (guess the leaders jersey does have added benefits :) Oh my, it's going to be close.. great ride by BMC... they have the winning time of 16.07. They roll back to their team area with Sky, and there are hand shakes and backslapping all around. Gah those boys are such sporting gents, or they feel the need for physical camaraderie.
Top 5 places for the Stage: 1st BMC, 2nd Sky, 3rd OPQS, 4th RLT, and 5th Katusha.
Back to the live feed and, YAAY it's podium time. Have to say it's very bizarre, there are no crowds, and obviously no podium girls.
First up are worthy stage winners BMC. Double whoop for all these points scored for my fantasy team.
Next is the presentation of the leaders gold jersey to Brent Bookwalter (BMC). But wait, a podium person has appeared ... it's Eddy Merckx... luckily not in a dress, he does a lovely job of zipping Brent into the gold (maybe it's gold lame, this is Qatar after all), hope he's not going to kiss him... phew he doesn't.
Hey, Brent's back again, for the silver points jersey; no Eddie to help this time though, so he has to manage by himself.
Last up is Taylor (YAAY), for his white best young rider jersey. Surely he's getting too old for this now? He does funny little air punch and has a huge grin (awww bless). Eddy does not reappear, so seems he only puts out for stage winners only. Good job BMC, just you guys for the presentations then.
GC leaders table looks like this...BMC take spots 1-5 with Bookwalter still in gold, and Phinney 6 seconds down in second. Team Sky occupy places 6-10, with Bernie the highest placed at 11 secs down. Cav is lying 10th at +20secs and Fabs is 41st at +48 secs.
Bernie is 3rd in the points competetion behind Bookwalter and Phinney, and Luke Rowe is 3rd in the youngest rider jersey parade.
Things I have learnt from Stage 2
1. Team Time Trials are great to watch
2. The Sky skin suits look great, but I think Eddy and Ian Stannard should have national champions versions.
I would pay good money to see The Boss in a red skin suit.
3. Intermediate sprints points are going to be vital in the next few days
4. Fabs is not going to be happy tonight, those RLT boys will have to get the TT down better than that.
4. Still no photo ops of cyclists on or near camels. But stage 4 goes through an actual camel race track, surely they will emerge.
Tomorrow, I will not be able to watch the livestream as I will be at work, in work so to speak. I'll try and post something though.
Adieu until then
Proper Official results found here, and will probably tell you all you need to know without reading my rubbish.