Garmin-Barracuda have won today's team time trial in the Tour of Qatar over an 11.3km course starting and finishing in Lusail. However, overnight leader Tom Boonen just edged out the US team's Tyler Farrar by three hundredths of a second to keep the overall lead, his Omega Pharma-Quick Step posting the second quickest time, with Team Sky edging out Katusha to take third.
Omega Pharma Quick Step sports director Wilfried Peeters said: “Overall I’m happy with our guys’ race. At the intermediate we had the same time as team Garmin but we made a minor error in a right curve which cost us a few seconds. In general anyway, the guys are in good shape.
No-one knows the race better than Boonen - he's won 19 individual stages in the Tour of Qatar and taken the overall title three times - but Peeters is taking nothing for granted.
"In the next stages it’s going to be important to control the race well with the help of the other teams gunning for the general classification and try to win another stage. We’ll see how it goes day by day.”
Farrar, separated by a whisker from Boonen in the overall standings, said: “The TTT is close to our hearts at Garmin-Barracuda and winning today, as a team, is really exciting. It's a great way to start off the year.”
Team Sky won the team time trial in their first participation in this race in 2010, and sports director Steven de Jongh said that some errors early on cost them the chance to push Garmin-Barracuda closer today.
"It was a fast course which is good and I think we had a really strong finish," he reflected. "If you look at the split times and the finishing times we were looking strong. But we made some mistakes at the beginning and weren’t quite fast enough. But all in all it was a good result.
"We beat a lot of good teams but well done to Garmin today. It was also good to see Mark back after the illness he has had. He finished with the team and we also have Appo still in the top 10.
"Tomorrow should be another sprint finish and we will look to be up there again."
World champion Mark Cavendish led Team Sky home today, suggesting he's over the illness that almost kept him out of the race and led to him taking things easy on yesterday's Stage 1. He currently lies 20th on GC, 12 seconds behind Boonen and 2 seconds behind team mate Appolonio.
Tour of Qatar Stage 2 Team Time Trial result
1. Garmin Barracuda 12’ 38”
2. Omega Pharma-Quick Step at 7”
3. Team Sky at 9”
4. Katusha at 9”
5. Liquigas Cannondale at 13”
6. RadioShack-Nissan at 14”
7. GreenEdge at 16”
8. BMC Racing at 16”
9. Lotto-Belisol at 17”
10. Rabobank at 17”
Tour of Qatar Overall Standings after Stage 2
1. Tom Boonen, Omega Pharma-Quick Step 3h 24” 07”
2. Tyler Farrar, Garmin-Barracuda at 0”
3. Johan Van Summeren, Garmin-Barracuda at 3”
4. Ramūnas Navardauskas, Garmin-Barracuda at 3”
5. Thomas Dekker, Garmin-Barracuda at 3”
6. Robbie Hunter, Garmin-Barracuda at 3”
7. Davide Appollonio, Sky at 10”
8. Francesco Chicchi, Omega Pharma-Quick Step at 10”
9. Gert Steegmans, Omega Pharma-Quick Step at 10”
10. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, Omega Pharma-Quick Step at 10”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.