Tour of Qatar Stage 1: Boonen takes race lead as he hunts fourth overall win
Belgian takes stage win as overnight leader Boom struggles with stomach problems
Tom Boonen of Quickstep, three times a winner of the Tour of Qatar, is back in the race leader’s golden jersey today after winning Stage 1 of the race, covering 145.5km from Dukhan to Al Khor Corniche, ahead of Garmin-Cervélo’s Heinrich Haussler, the Belgian proving himself the strongest finisher of a 15-man group that contested the finale.
Mark Renshaw of HTC-Highroad finished third, and moves up to second overall while overnight leader, Lars Boom of Rabobank, was reported to be struggling today with stomach problems and missed out on joining the lead group.
Britain’s Roger Hammond of Garmin-Cervélo came home in eighth place following a day on which, as so often happens during the early season race in the Gulf state, the wind played its part, crosswinds helping the escape group establish a gap over the rest of the peloton.
Today’s sixth placed finisher, Juan Antonio Flecha of Team Sky, who now lies in fourth place overall, nine seconds off the lead and a second behind Fabian Cancellara in third, learnt first-hand in yesterday’s Prologue just how dangerous the wind can be when he narrowly avoided being hit by crash barriers lifted into his path by a particularly strong gust, his escape shown in this video from the Belgian broadcaster Sporza.
Qatar may be hosting football's 2022 FIFA World Cup, but tomorrow’s Stage 2 links the venues of two other sports, covering 135.5km from the Camel Race Track to the Doha Golf Club.
Tour of Qatar Stage 1 result 1 Tom Boonen Quickstep 2h 59m 29s 2 Heinrich Haussler Garmin-Cervélo st 3 Mark Renshaw HTC-Highroad st 4 Daniele Bennati Leopard Trek st 5 Graeme Brown Rabobank st 6 Juan Antonio Flecha Team Sky st 7 Dominique Rollin FDJ st 8 Roger Hammond Garmin-Cervélo st 9 Andreas Klier Garmin-Cervélo st 10 Stuart O’Grady Leopard Trek st Tour of Qatar overall standings after Stage 1 1 Tom Boonen Quickstep 3h 02m 32s 2 Mark Renshaw HTC-Highroad at 4s 3 Fabian Cancellara Leopard Trek 8s 4 Juan Antonio Flecha Team Sky 9s 5 Heinrich Haussler Garmin-Cervelo 11s