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 


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.