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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 


Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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