On a windy day in Qatar Torpedo Tom Boonen once again blew away the competition to take this second stage win of the race and edge closer to taking the overall win for the second year in a row. As the race entered the final kilometre of the stage from Lusail to Madinat all the contenders were together, but Boonen once again beat them all to the line, Napolitaon of Team Katusha came home in second place with Sky's star sprinter Edvald Boasson Hagen in third.
Boonen now lies in third place overall 1 min 45 back on the overall leader and wearer of the gold jersey, Wouter Mol of Vacansoleil, with Geer Steurs of Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator 9s down on Mol. Cervelo's Heinrich Haussler heads the points competition.
The stage started with a decent tail wind so it was no surprise that some riders were keen to take advantage and an escape group of six quickly came together after about 20Km Hansen (THR), Ignatiev (KAT), Tuft (GRM), Reimer (CTT), Zahner (BMC) and Riblon (ALM), but although they were at one point more than two and a half minutes to the good they were never going to be allowed to succeed on another day set up for the sprinters. The catch was duly made after 115Km.
Pressure at the front did eventually split the pack with 25Km to go and a lead group of 14 which included race leader Mol, Fabian Cancellara, Garmin's Tyler Farrar and Napolitano of Katusha they managed to work a lead of 30 sec over the chasing group containing Boonen and Haussler. However neither man or their teams would be denied and so it all came together for the final kilometre and the big sprint in which Boonen proved the fastest once again
Top 5 Qatar Stage Five
1) Tom Boonen QUICK STEP CYCLING TEAM 3h 13' 00"
2) Danilo Napolitano KATUSHA TEAM 3h 13' 00" + 00' 00"
3) Edvald Boasson Hagen TEAM SKY 3h 13' 00" + 00' 00"
4) Theo Bos CERVELO TEST TEAM 3h 13' 00" + 00' 00"
5) Juan Jose Haedo TEAM SAXO BANK 3h 13' 00" + 00' 00"
Overall standings after Stage 5
1) Wouter Mol VACANSOLEIL PRO CYCLING TEAM 13h 12' 28"
2) Geert Steurs TOPSPORT VLAANDEREN-MERCATOR 13h 12' 37" + 00' 09"
3) Tom Boonen QUICK STEP CYCLING TEAM 13h 14' 13" + 01' 45"
4) Roger Kluge TEAM MILRAM 13h 14' 27" + 01' 59"
5) Marcus Burghardt BMC RACING TEAM 13h 14' 33" + 02' 05"
Was gutted when I heard this news. Met him a couple of times over the years. Great fella.
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