Tom Boonen has won the first stage of the Tour of Qatar, taking the leaders jersey in the race, and building on his 7th place finish in the prologue yesterday. The 145km first stage from Dukhan to Al Khor Coriniche presented the atypical conditions for a Tour of Qatar stage – flat, hot and windy – and the wind caused a split in the field leaving only a group of 18 elite riders to battle it out for the finish. Boonen, who hadn’t sprinted since his knee injuries last year took the stage with a convincing margin and burst of speed.
Yesterday in the prologue, the mischievous Qatar wind seemed to do more than it’s usual gusting getting malicious with course destruction as Juan Antonio Flecha saw first hand. Flecha had to get into cobbles form in a hurry as the wind blew the barriers down in front of him during the time trial and he just rode over them and kept going (check the videos). Lars Boom won the prologue and was in contention today until stomach problems forced him to the back of the pack and out of overall contention. More wind and sprints tomorrow as the classics riders hammer into form.
Stage 1 Top Three
1. Tom Boonen (Quickstep)_______145 km in 2’59’29”
2. Heinrich Haussler (Garmin)______s.t
3. Mark Renshaw (HTC)__________s.t.