Tour of Qatar Stage 5 - Italy's Guardini bags the stage as Renshaw holds on for overall win
Heinrich Haussler misses out on bonus seconds that could have seen him challenge for gold jersey
Mark Renshaw of HTC-Highroad is typically seen acting as leadout man to Mark Cavendish, but today the rider, nicknamed Prince Harry, got a right royal day in the sun, winning the Tour of Qatar after Garmin-Cervelo’s Heinrich Haussler, who had started yesterday’s Stage 4 in the race lead but finished it six seconds down in second place, failed to pick up the stage win and bonus seconds that might have put him back in the gold jersey.
While the battle for the overall was between the two Australians – Haussler declared last year for the country of his birth, rather than his parents’ native Germany – today’s sprint, which saw riders fanned out across the full width of the road had very much an Italian flavour, won by Andrea Guardini of Farnese Vini by a tyre’s width from Quickstep’s Francesco Chicchi. Theo Bos of Rabobank finished third.
Today’s 126.5km fifth and final stage took the riders from Sealine Beach Resort to Doha Corniche, where they tackled ten laps of a 6km closing circuit.
Two breakaway riders, the Lithuanian Gediminas Bagdonas of the Irish Professional Continental team An Post-Sean Kelly and the Belgian Greg Van Avermaet of BMC Racing got away.
However, with Garmin-Cervélo forcing the pace at the front of the peloton to help Haussler in his bid for the overall title, they were always going to be caught, and they were eventually swept up with 6 kilometres to go as the race entered the last lap and regrouped ahead of the final sprint.