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  1. After 3 riders got away early on, our Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders would control proceedings for the better part of the stage. Once the gap hit 3'00", Katusha would provide 2 riders to lend a hand in the chase. At only 114km in distance, and the important bonus seconds up for grabs at the finish, it was always going to be a bunch sprint to decide the stage and the overall. With 10km to go, the race was all together ahead of the expected bunch sprint. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka did a great job once again to leadout Cavendish, putting him in a prime position with 1km to go. Edvald Boasson Hagen had already put yesterday's disappointment behind him, and did a crucial turn for Cavendish inside of 1km to go. It was the Manxman and Kristoff going neck and neck for the final 200m and even on the finish line photo, it was difficult to determine the winner. In the end, the stage victory went the way of the Norwegian rider. With Cavendish placed 2nd though, his overall lead was secure and he would win the Tour of Qatar by 5 seconds from Kristoff. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) placing 3rd overall. Boasson Hagen also finished in the pack on the stage to ensure he kept his 5th place on general classification too. The result being our African Team's first General Classification race win of the year. We were really motivated for today and I have won this stage before a couple of times. The wind was always going to make it difficult today, it was a block head wind and we thought it was going to be cross. Actually it was more a cross head wind so you were never really comfortable. We knew we were going to have to take control and the team were really motivated after yesterday. Obviously we were in control at the beginning of yesterday but then with the puncture of Edvald it really put the team in a difficult situation. It also made it harder for us to take the overall today so we really had to be on top of our game to make sure we finished on the top step of the podium. The lads did it perfectly on the final laps when it was hectic, keeping me in the front and out of danger, so I was ready for the sprint.Obviously it's nice to be wearing gold now, but I know I am only wearing it on behalf of Edvald. He only lost it because of bad luck and not through any other kind of cause. He should be the guy wearing this gold jersey but we are just super happy to keep it in Team Dimension Data. The team made the step up to World Tour this year and we've already won a GC. It is great for the new sponsors, Dimension Data, Deliotte and also to highlight Qhubeka here on the international stage. Mark Cavendish - Rider On a difficult last day of the tour, the entire team stepped up to the challenge and defended the jersey. I am so pleased for all the guys and the entire team, they really deserved the win. Roger Hammond - Sport Director
  2. It took another photo finish to decide the final stage of the Tour of Qatar, once again the victory went the way of Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) with our Mark Cavendish in 2nd place. Roy Jans (Wanty Groupe Gobert) was the rider in 3rd. Click here to view the article
  3. It would be a dramatic finish to the 4th stage of the Tour of Qatar as our race leader Edvald Boasson Hagen punctured with just 8km to go while in a select front split of just 25 odd riders. The split happened with around 14km to go when LottoNL-Jumbo surged to the front of the race after our African Team had done a great job controlling proceedings for the first 170km of the stage with Mekseb Debesay and Matt Brammeier. Initially it was a good situation for our Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka boys as Boasson Hagen and Mark Cavendish easily made the front echelon when the peloton broke into pieces. Unfortunately, our Norwegian champion couldn't have had a worse timed puncture as he lost the air in his front wheel with just 8km left to race. BMC then came to the front, trying to capitalise on Boasson Hagen's misfortune by driving the front group as hard as they could along with the LottoNL-Jumbo team. This played right into the hands of Katusha though as they could concentrate on organising the leadout for Kristoff. They did this with such effectiveness from 2km out, that it was only 4 riders that crossed the line together on the same time as Kristoff at the end of the stage. Vastly outnumbered in the front group while the rest of our team tried to get Boasson Hagen back, Cavendish could only sit on the wheels of BMC and Katusha, crossing the line in 5th place. By the time Boasson Hagen crossed the line riding Youcef Reguigui's bike, 45 seconds had already passed. This meant the Norwegian drops to 5th on the general classification. The good news of the day for our African Team though is that Boasson Hagen gave up his top spot on the general classification to teammate, Cavendish. With just 2 seconds separating Cavendish and Van Avermaet in the overall, there is all to play for during tomorrow's final 114km stage to Doha. It was horrible to lose 1st and 2nd on GC in such a disappointing way. Edvald punctured in the last 10km and unfortunately Lotto Jumbo went full gas, BMC as well but obviously they had a reason to but Lotto Jumbo don't have anyone on GC so it was a bit sad. All the guys waited for Edvald to try and bring him back. It was a full cross-tail finish so it means you need a full team with you otherwise you just going to be hammered in the gutter. So we put all our eggs in Edvald's basket and I knew I just needed to bury myself deep and we'd still hang onto the jersey anyway. The team rode incredibly strongly today. Matt and Mekseb controlled the race alone, with no help from any other teams and that was awesome to see for 190km. Honestly we got to pay back the good work the guys have done all week and hold on to the jersey tomorrow. Mark Cavendish - Rider It's a bit sad that after the team rode incredibly strongly all day, not getting any help from any other teams, that the only difference separating us from having complete control today was the double puncture. If you not winning because you not good enough that is one thing but just through a puncture, well that's just disappointing. Roger Hammond - Sport Director
  4. The 4th stage of the Tour of Qatar saw Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) win a select group sprint ahead of Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) and Jacopo Guarnieri (Katusha). Click here to view the article
  5. It was always known that the time trial stage of the Tour of Qatar would be pretty critical in the race for the overall general classification. Boasson Hagen was our main man for the day, as our rider with the best chance of achieving a top result. Van Emden, who had finished around 30 minutes before our Norwegian champion started, had the fastest time in the finish house. Boasson Hagen knew he had to try and stay above a 50km/h average over the windy and dusty course in Lusail to take the stage lead, and hopefully it would also be enough to move into the overall race lead as well. After being 11 seconds faster than Van Emden at the half way mark, Boasson Hagen really turned up the heat over the second part of the course to come home with a new fastest time of 13'26". Nobody would come close to Boasson Hagen's time, the stage and overall race lead would go to our Norwegian star. Sweetening the deal even further for our African Team was another strong performance by Mark Cavendish. Having spent the majority of his winter training on the track in his bid for an Olympic spot, the Manxman powered himself to 7th place on the stage. These results saw Cavendish slot into 2nd place behind Boasson Hagen on GC and while he gives up the gold leaders jersey to his teammate, he will now wear the silver points jersey as leader of that competition tomorrow. It went pretty well today, I have been feeling quite strong since earlier in the week so I had a go to try and take the victory today. I am feeling strong but also I suffered in the wind. I am just happy that it was enough to take the jersey which we will do our best to keep. Edvald Boasson Hagen - Rider Today was a crucial day for the team in Qatar so for Edvald to deliver such an impressive display was all the more enjoyable to watch. It was a performance I will remember for a long time. We knew he was in good shape when he came here and today's time trial has proved that. There is a lot of racing still to go here but we are looking forward to the challenge. Roger Hammond - Sport Director
  6. A mass crash would affect the 2nd Tour of Qatar stage but our Dimension Data for Qhubeka team kept out of trouble in the front of peloton to have Mark Cavendish take 2nd place in a photo finish with Alexander Kristoff (Katusha). Roy Jans (Wanty Gobert) was 3rd. Click here to view the article
  7. The 2nd stage of the of the Tour of Qatar saw the peloton head off into a stern headwind, making for a tough start to the day. 4 riders tried to muscle away in the early kilometers, but after getting a minute gap, Katusha and Bora brought them back in order to contest the first intermediate sprint of the day. After Edvald Boasson Hagen took 2nd at the sprint for our African Team, there was a big split in the peloton with 4 notable groups forming. It was a big scramble behind as 22 riders tried to get away, with only Edvald in the front group for us and Bora having 5 while Katusha had 4 riders in this lead group. The gap was kept around 50" for some time as the chasing groups behind tried to regather. Soon there were 4 Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders in front of our race leader, Mark Cavendish, chasing down the dangerous move up front. With 60km to go, our team were able to nullify the threat of the lead group and the race was all together heading onto the finishing circuit in Doha. 2 riders would get away on the circuit, but with our full complement of 8 riders now, our African Team could control the gap quite easily to set up another bunch sprint. A number of teams would push their way to the front in the final 15km but it was always our African Team and Katusha who proved to be the strongest. In the final kilometer we went toe to toe with Katusha as there was a mass pile up just behind us. Edvald led it out followed by Kristoff and Cavendish. It looked like the Manxman was coming around the Katusha rider, even with the wind on his face, just before the line but on the photo, Kristoff got it by a tyres width. Edvald was able to hold on to 5th place on the stage and the results of the day saw Cavendish retain the gold leader’s jersey while our Norwegian champion moved up to 4th on GC ahead of tomorrow's all important time trial. That was a really close one. We controlled it at the beginning and then it split in the middle and we thought it might come back anyway on the final circuits but we wanted to be at the front to kind of make life a bit easier but we ended up in the 2nd split. It took some energy out of us but as soon as we caught the front group we were back riding again. The lads were superb again, coming to the final the wind kept changing from head to crosswind all the time so coming to the sprint the other teams were always going to come from behind but the Dimension Data guys kept me at the front really well. Edvald did a really, really good leadout. Unfortunately, the wind was coming from the front right so you wanted the barrier side. I had to let Kristoff in so I knew I had to go on his outside which kind of made it harder for me. At the end of the day I was happy with how it went, on that finish I can't be too disappointed losing to Kristoff, he is strong on that type of finish. I am happy to keep to jersey. Mark Cavendish - Rider Today was another very difficult day in the wind. Katusha tried hard to attack but the guys rode really well as a team, keeping the race together in very difficult conditions. In the sprint Mark was a very close 2nd, retaining his lead which is really good for us. Roger Hammond - Sport Director
  8. Mark Cavendish opened his season victory account today at stage 1 of the Tour of Qatar, giving Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka its inaugural win. Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) was 2nd and Andrea Guardini (Astana) took 3rd. Click here to view the article
  9. The opening stage of the Tour of Qatar got off to a blistering start today as a lead group of 21 riders broke away in the stiff Qatari wind after just 40km of racing. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were in a great position, placing Mark Cavendish, Edvald Boasson Hagen and Tyler Farrar in the front group. There were a number of favourites in the select group, with Katusha having 3 teammates up there to support Alexander Kristoff while Greg van Avermaet (BMC), Sam Bennett (Bora-Argon), Andrea Guardini (Astana) and Sacha Modolo were all also part of this dangerous lead pack. Cavendish and co. would drive the break as hard as they could, opening up a lead of 1’20” over the chasers. The peloton, in its panic to reel in the the strong lead group, saw a number of crashes further hinder their chase. It wasn’t long until just 40 odd riders were chasing the 21 in front. Again our African Team were in a good spot by having 4 riders in this chasing peloton. The gap would hold constant around the minute mark for the majority of the stage though and coming into the final 20km, it was evident that the lead group would decide the stage. Cavendish, Boasson Hagen and Farrar rode well together, as Katusha and BMC upped the pace to shed a few more riders from the lead group. Coming into the final, it was a 16 rider strong group sprinting for the win. Katusha led it out in the finishing straight but Cavendish was able to come off Kristoff’s wheel and blitz to an impressive first win of the season. Boasson Hagen was also in the mix, crossing the line 6th. Thanks to Cavendish taking 2nd and then 1st at the two intermediate sprints during the stage, the Manxman has an 8 second lead in the overall classification giving him the golden leaders jersey, he also leads the silver points jersey competition as well. We’ve probably got the best race director in the world for this race in Roger Hammond. We had a lot of confidence for today after last night’s team meeting. The split went pretty soon in the beginning and I was always looked after from the start. Jay Thomson always kept me there at the front in the beginning ready to go and when the group split Youcef Reguigui did a big turn to get me there, and then we had three in the front so that was okay. Obviously we had me there for the sprint and we wanted Edvald there for the overall. So we were content with having the 3 there. It was a long day and a hard. Unfortunately, Tyler punctured and he used too much energy to get back to me for the sprint but he was incredible in helping to keep the group away. Edvald just stayed with me in the final and I wanted Kristoff’s wheel because they had the numbers so we knew they’d do the leadout and Edvald just sweeped, he was there in case I needed him. I launched from Kristoff with about 200m to go, the road turned right so I hugged the right side and I knew no one would come round me then. It was great that Edvald was there as for sure he will be in contention after the time trial on Wednesday. In all, it was a super strong performance by all the guys and I am really happy to get the first win of the year. Mark Cavendish – Rider It was a really good collective team effort. When one races on the flat roads in the wind it’s about how the team works together and everyone did their jobs today, making sure Mark, Tyler and Edvald were in the front. There was still a lot of racing to do in the final but with the team helping those 3 get to the front allowed us to relax a bit and gave Mark the chance to concentrate on the sprint. It was a really good sprint by Mark, beating Kristoff with 3 teammates is pretty impressive. We are really pleased, everybody had an input in today’s win so it’s nice when a plan works out. Roger Hammond – Sport Director
  10. As seasoned cycling fans will know already, the Tour of Qatar is made up of long, straight and very flat roads each day and so it is not the parcours that necessarily decides the outcome of the race. It is the gale force desert winds which so often decimates the peloton, creating echelon after echelon and causing the time gaps. A strong team, able to ride at a high tempo in the gutter is what is required to be successful at the Tour of Qatar and we believe we will have such a squad on the start line this Monday. Mark Cavendish will once again headline our team with Edvald Boasson Hagen, Mark Renshaw, Tyler Farrar, Youcef Reguigui, Jay Thomson & Mekseb Debesay adding to our firepower for the event. Bernie Eisel was supposed to join our African Team too, but after breaking his collarbone this past Friday at the Dubai Tour, he will be replaced by Matt Brammeier. The 11km individual time trial makes things quite interesting for the GC this year particularly if the TT specialists have lost time in the possible wind affected opening stages. In Eddy and Cav we have two proven race winners in our roster, and so the goal will be the top step of the podium on each stage for our African Team. I've been watching this race for a few years now and I always thought it would be one of the craziest races to do and here I am about to race it for the first time. In some way I am excited and nervous all at once. I think this is always a race the classics guys use to see where their condition is leading into the classics that start at the end of February. If you are missing something small now you can try and remedy this before the big show goes down in Belgium. We are going there with an experienced team as Mark Cavendish and Mark Renshaw have each won stages and the overall GC before. Both are looking in great shape for winning stages there and possibly the overall. Jay Thomson - Rider
  11. The Tour of Qatar gets underway on Monday 8 February and our African Team will be lining-up once again in the early season UCI 2.HC desert race. The race will be run over 5 stages with the 3rd stage being an 11km individual time trial. Click here to view the article
  12. Just before the first sprint of the day, at kilometer 85, Theo Bos was forced off the road into the gravel and went down.Theo sustained several flesh wounds and was transported to hospital for a full check-up. The diagnosis revealed no fractures. Theo had a fall today after being forced into some gravel on the side of the road. He sustained injuries to his right elbow, right hip and right knee. Thankfully, x-rays revealed no fractures but his wounds were deep and required several sutures. He will be released from the hospital this evening. Dr Jarrad van Zuydam – Team Doctor
  13. The 5th stage of the Tour of Qatar was a flat 156km from Al Zabara Fort to Madinat ash-Shamal. Once again the strong winds battered the peloton and on rough harsh roads, the racing was really nervy. Click here to view the article
  14. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung would end the Tour of Qatar off on a high note with Youcef Reguigui sprinting to 5th place in the capital city, Doha. Youcef was able to rely on some fine work from his MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung teammates as they rode as a unit throughout the day to ensure the Algerian was still fresh enough to give the finish a good crack. While there were numerous attacks throughout the stage today, the 5.5km city circuit which would host the finale, always lent itself to a bunch sprint. Tinkoff-Saxo and Katusha were also adamant in ensuring a bunch sprint would decide the final stage and so all opportunists were never allowed much breathing space. It was encouraging to see the MTN-Qhubeka sprint train gelling so well in the final few kilometers of the stage. All 6 riders were on hand in the final kilometers to assist with the lead out. Bidding their time and leaving it really late, the African team took advantage of a sharp right turn just before the final km to surge to the front and drop Youcef off on the wheels of the favourites. "Today was a super hard day, it was only 115km's but it was fast. I am really happy with the team, they supported me all stage and kept me at the front of the bunch. I always had a teammate beside me the whole stage. In the last lap I was with Jaco, Gerald, Edvald and Kristian after Johann did some good work. So the whole team was there and that was why I could be in front. In the last kilometer we came from the back to the front at high speed. I just followed our wheels until I got to the wheels of Sagan and Bouhanni. I started sprinting at 400m to keep on the wheels but if I waited until 200m I could have finished on the podium. It's okay though, I am happy about the team. Everybody rode together and we had a good understanding. If we continue to work like this MTN-Qhubeka can win some big races." Youcef Reguigui - Rider Today was the last day of the Tour of Qatar, being the 6th stage finishing on the Corniche. We can be satisfied with the result, 5th place in the big sprint against the world class sprinters with Youcef Reguigui. He was protected pretty well by the team today and that was our strategy. Finishing with a 5th place is a good ending to the Tour of Qatar for us, we can now look forward to the next races. Jens Zemke - Head of Performance
  15. The Tour of Qatar reached its conclusion today when a bunch sprint saw Sam Bennett (Bora-Argon 18) winning the final stage ahead of Andrea Gaurdini (Astana) and Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis). Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quickstep) held on to his General Classification lead to win the Tour of Qatar overall. Click here to view the article
  16. The 4th stage of the Tour of Qatar saw Jaco Venter go on the offensive, attacking with Dimitry Gruzdev (Astana) and Jarl Salomein (Topsport-Vlaanderen) after just 10km of racing. The trio built a lead of up to 3'45" at one stage before the prevailing winds ignited the chase from the peloton. Click here to view the article
  17. The escape was not to be despite the brave effort from the attackers. The sprinters teams nullified the gap with 18km remaining and a nervy bunch sprint then ensued. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung were in the mix for the finale and with 8km we were in control of the peloton. Coming into the finish though the fight for position intensified and in the end Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) took the victory on the line, edging Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) into 2nd place and Nikias Arndt (Giant-Alpecin) was 3rd across the line. Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quickstep) held on to his overall lead. We went away after 10km. I was hoping for a lot of crosswind but it was all headwind so maybe it wasn't the best decision to be in the break because it was a really tough day. At some stages we were really fighting to just ride at 30km/h. I suppose we can say it was a good day of training. Jaco Venter - Rider Jaco Venter was away from kilometer 10, he fought all day and was caught in the final 20km. It was a fantastic ride by him today. Then there was a big sprint and we were part of it but unfortunately there was a big crash in front of Edvald so our riders lost each other. This caused us to be without a top result or even a top 10 but it is okay, the boys are riding well. Jens Zemke - Head of Performance
  18. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung had Edvald Boasson Hagen give the course a good crack and the Norwegian star was able to come in just 21 seconds down on eventual winner, Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quickstep). This performance was good enough to net 8th position for the MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung rider on the stage. Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) and Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) completed the stage podium. Terpstra would take the lead in the GC. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will now look ahead to the upcoming 3 road stages where we hope to have one of sprinters challenging for the victory. "It was really hard and windy today with sand once again. I managed to pace myself well, I didn't expect a podium today as it's quite hard to beat Bradley and the other specialists but I'm happy with my performance though. We just have to wait and see if I can hold on to a top 10 finish." Edvald Boasson Hagen - Rider "So we have the world’s best riders here in the desert of Qatar. I think with Edvald finishing in the top 10 it shows we are ready to compete against the big World Tour teams. It is a good start to the season for Edvald, he has shown he is ready for the season and the classics can come now. We are satisfied with this first performance." Jens Zemke - Head of Performance
  19. The 3rd stage of the Tour of Qatar had riders tackle a 10.9km individual time trial. After yesterday's brutal day in the desert where riders were battered by sand and wind, the peloton were again exposed to the unrelenting elements albeit for just 10.9km. Click here to view the article
  20. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) took the victory at the Tour of Qatar today. Kristoff got away with a group of 15 riders in the final 30km's of racing and was able to pip Andrea Gaurdini (Astana) and Greg van Avermaet (BMC) to the line. Click here to view the article
  21. A frantic start to the 2nd stage of the Tour of Qatar saw echelons forming from the gun. Riders were spread all across the desert road during the first hour of racing as Etixx-Quickstep piled on the pressure during a sandstorm of note. Thankfully for some, the howling crosswind soon became more of a tailwind and a general regrouping took place with 60km completed. Johann van Zyl used this new race situation to his advantage as he jumped clear of the peloton with 4 other riders. The quintet was able to build their lead up to 2 and a half minutes before the peloton sprung back to life and began the chase. The prevailing winds again broke the peloton apart in the chase effort, resulting in 22 riders forming at the head of the race with just less than 60km's to go. A few riders were then shelled from the lead group, leaving just 15 in contention for the stage while the race behind was in pieces. "Today was a horrible, horrible day. Some riders just weren't positioned well at all today. We also had a lot of bad luck with a number of punctures. Theo was actually in a good position in a good break but had to brake when there was a crash in front of him. He lost some places and then it split up immediately after that so he was pretty upset about that. If he didn't have that problem then he would've been in the front group." J.P Heynderickx - Sports Director
  22. The race was just a couple of kilometers old when an early break got clear. The peloton granted Jarl Salomein (Topsport Vlaanderen) and Luca Sterbini (Bardiani-CSF) a ten minute lead but quickly reeled them back in once they reached the dessert. In the crosswinds Edvald Boasson Hagen was one of the riders to make the jump into an elite group that split the peloton for a while. With some of the fast man being caught in the second group the chase was on. The peloton eventually came back together. During the last hour of racing several attacks marked the situation on the front of the race. When the peloton reached Sealine Beach MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung still had a few riders up in the mix. In the end Youcef was the team's best placed rider, closely followed by Theo. Both finished with the same time as race winner José Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) and stay in contention for the overall. Tomorrow the race continues with a 194 kilometer stage from Al Wakra to Al Khor Corniche.
  23. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung made its debut at today's first stage of the Tour of Qatar. Covering 136 kilometers from Dukhan to Sealine Beach, the peloton had to pass the dessert and to deal with the obligatory Qatar winds. The team rode attentive all day and was up there in the final with Youcef Reguigui and Theo Bos coming in 12th and 13th. Click here to view the article
  24. The UCI 2.HC event takes place from the 8-13 February and consists of 5 pan flat road stages and a 10.9km TT on stage 3. While there is almost zero meters gained or lost in altitude, soaring heat and extreme wind characterise this race. With such racing conditions, it is no wonder that classics specialists and sprinters are the riders who populate the results sheet. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will send a strong 7 man squad to Qatar who will be able to challenge for the top positions each day. Theo Bos, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Gerald Ciolek, Youcef Reguigui, Kristian Sbaragli, Johann van Zyl and Jaco Venter make up our Qatar roster. Andreas Stuaff was scheduled to participate but after fracturing his collarbone during the Challenge Mallorca, he will not be able to start. "I'm looking forward to return to Qatar. The race and its windy conditions suit me and I have done well there in the past. We will be there with a strong team and are surely a force to be reckoned with." Theo Bos - Rider "My focus is already on the spring classics, so the Tour of Qatar will be important for me in terms of getting to know where I am at the moment. The field there is normally very strong, but we will not hide ourselves in the bunch. I look forward to really get rolling." Gerald Ciolek - Rider We're looking forward to starting the Tour of Qatar, a race for which we are very hopeful. We will have a strong team of sprinters at the start line with the likes of Theo, Edvald, Kristian and Gerald and are eager to play an important role once the race starts. Jens Zemke - Sports Director For more race information, see the official race website here: http://www.letour.fr/tour-of-qatar/
  25. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will feature in the Tour of Qatar for the first time, this year. The desert race has become a mainstay fixture on the international cycling calendar and is an important event for all riders hoping to have a successful classics campaign. Click here to view the article
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