Photo credit:KARIM JAAFAR/AFP/Getty Images
Tom Boonen got his second stage win in the 2010 Tour of Qatar on Thursday with a perfectly timed sprint finsih into a punishing headwind. “I’m super happy to win again. It was a head wind and so it was hard to pass so I think I did the sprint right,” Boonen said. Boonen closed in on second place by ten seconds, but with the breakaway advantage Mol and Steurs built up on stage two, he looks unlikely to win the Qatar for the third time.
“I think Wouter Mol will be the winner. It’s impossible to get back the time. We’ll try for another stage win and hopefully I can finish second overall.” said Boonen after the fifth stage. However, as unlikely as it seems that Mol will relinquish his 1:45 second lead to Boonen, it’s arguably just as unlikely that Steurs will be caught inattentive and allow his 1:34 lead on Boonen to dry up in the Qatar heat.
Todays race was typical fare for Qatar with a series of breakaways adding some spice to the already blistering hot day. It wasn’t until a group of 14 launched a slippery escape with 20 kilometers to go that things really got feisty. Wouter Mol, wearing the yellow jersey was in the attack group and he was joined by Swiss strongman Fabian Cancellara, but noteably absent wear Heinrich Haussler and Tom Boonen.
Haussler, who is wearing the sprinters jersey, along with Team Sky and Quickstep motivated the peleton to lead a frantic chase as the group ahead started to splinter, with repeated attacks by Liquigas riders. Within the last two kilometers, and with the 14 man group all but exploding, the failure to work together cost the breakaway their lead. Again, in the final surge Theo Bos jumped early with Edvald Boasson Hagen following, but it was Torpedo Tom with the perfect timing on the sprint, peaking at the line and beating an oncoming Danilo Napolitano by half a bike length.
Results for stage 5
1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step________3:13:00
2 Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Katusha______st
3 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky_____st
4 Theo Bos (Ned) Cervélo TestTeam____st
General Classification after 5 stages
1 Wouter Mol (Ned) Vacansoleil ____13:12:28
2 Geert Steurs (Bel) Topsport _______0:00:09
3 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step______0:01:45