After I'd slept on it, I decided to write a column stating why I thought it was short.
The response didn't faze me - Renato Canova said the times likely were legit, people on the Abu Dhabi facebook group criticized me, an agent sent me a pciture of his athlete's GPS watch from the race.
Now I have proof. Helmut Winter read my column and vowed to go to Abu Dhabi and measure the dispute 30-35 k segment if we hadn't heard back from race organizers. He did so last Friday with Sean Hartnett.
Here is what they found.
It looks like someone moved up the cones for the U-Turn just before the 34k mark. The course was measured accurately but the cones for the U-Turn didn't end up where they should - our theory is they were moved (by whom we don't know) to give access to the local fish market.