The 10.9-kilometer time trial was run on portions of the Losail International motor racing circuit. Steady northwest winds blowing at 12-15 kph buffeted the competitors as they made several changes in direction on the course.
On The Podium:
Michael Hepburn (Orica-GreenEDGE) took the victory in 13 minutes and 28 seconds, one second ahead of Lars Boom (Belkin Pro Cycling Team). Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff-Saxo) was third, six seconds off the winning time.
BMC Racing Team Notables:
Gilbert, a past Belgian national time trial champion, was 15 seconds off the winning time in eighth. Two other BMC Racing Team riders were in the top 20: Greg Van Avermaet (17th) and Silvan Dillier (18), both 23 seconds off the winning time.
In The Overall Standings:
Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) held onto the overall lead by 21 seconds ahead of Jürgen Roelandts (Lotto Belisol). Gilbert is the BMC Racing Team's best-placed rider in 12th, 1:21 off the lead, while Swiss national road champion Michael Schär is also in the top 20 in 16th, 1:34 back.
What Gilbert Had To Say:
"The wind was pretty strong, with a lot of changing of direction. When you hit the headwind, you had to give everything because you knew you can have an easier time on the opposite way. I was never over my limit. Then, when I heard (Sport Director) Valerio Piva say that I was doing a great time in the last two kilometers, that gave me extra energy. I was trying to go faster and faster at the end, but the last 700 or 800 meters were hard. I finished empty like everyone."
Gilbert and several other BMC Racing Team riders rode the BMC timemachine TMR01, specially outfitted with 55-tooth front chainrings. Gilbert used Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 C75 wheels and his Elite bottle cages were removed for additional aerodynamics.
What Sport Director Valerio Piva said:
"It was a special time trial with a lot of wind. Philippe made a good choice to put the 55 front chainring on. He was very powerful, considering he's not really a specialist. He is a good time trials, but compared to (past multi-world time trial champion) Fabian Cancellara, he did a fantastic time trial. Greg Van Avermaet was also good, and the young Silvan Dillier was too. I expect again tomorrow that there will be a lot of wind and a lot of attacks. I want to have the team perform tomorrow like the first day. So it was not necessary for the non-time trial specialists on our team to go fast."
Wednesday's Stage 4 is 135 kilometers, traveling east from Dukhan Beach to Mesaieed. The final 1.6 km are straight.
Click here to view photos from the race.
Watch a video interview with Greg Van Avermaet.
Listen to complete comments from Dillier, Gilbert and Piva on the BMC Racing Team Audio Line.