Qatar 1: Boonen trumps 'Lion King'

Tom Boonen put the disappointment of second place in the Doha GP behind him by winning the Tour of Q

Tom Boonen put the disappointment of second place in the Doha GP behind him by winning the Tour of Q
PICTURE BY TDWSPORT.COM Quick Step's Tom Boonen opened his win account for this season on the opening stage of the Tour of Qatar on Monday, and will now follow the exact programme of races as he did in 2004, when he banked 24 victories. It was a case of history repeating when Boonen finished second for the second year running at Saturday's Doha International Grand Prix, but the young Belgian was more than happy to repeat his stage win in the Tour of Qatar of last year in 2005, and will now be looking to take more stages before the race ends on Friday, and perhaps even the overall classification. But if Boonen won the day, the title of hero of the day had to go to Hong Kong's Chiyin Leung of the Marco Polo team. Attacking right from the gun, Leung, much to the delight of his team's staff in the following race vehicles, stayed out alone for over 100 kilometres in the blazing winter sunshine, first caught by the Shimano-Memory Corp pairing of Rik Reinerik and Laurens Ten Dam, with the trio then caught by the bunch a few kilometres later with 30km to go. Until that point, the bunch had been content to let Leung and his team have their day, rolling along enjoying the fine weather, and the day's almost sedate average speed of just 38kph was testament to that. However, with fresh legs, the last few kilometres into the finish in Qatar's capital, Doha, was anything but slow. "It was a very hectic finish today," Boonen told procycling. "With all the roundabouts, it was almost impossible to stay at the front, but Stefano Zanini did a great job keeping me up there all day. "In the last kilometre, going round the last roundabout, I suddenly found myself losing about 15 places, so, with 500 metres left, I had to make a massive effort - probably the biggest effort I've ever had to make - to get back up there. But with 200 metres to go, I managed to get on Mario Cipollini's wheel, and got around him for the win," the 24 year old explained. "It proves that my form is good, and that I'm in good shape, so I'm happy." Despite Leung winning the day's first intermediate sprint, and taking third in the second and last one of the day, it was still Boonen who took the points leader's silver jersey at the end of the day thanks to the greater number of points on offer at the finish. The Belgian also accepted the light blue jersey of best young rider, but will be clad in the yellow leader's jersey on tomorrow's 168km second stage, four seconds ahead of 'the Lion King' Cipollini overall thanks to bonus seconds for his stage win. Results: Tour of Qatar stage 1, Al Khor Corniche - Doha Hyatt Plaza 1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step 143km in 3.45.17 (38.09kph) 2 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 3 Robert Hunter (SA) Phonak 4 Aurelien Clerc (Swi) Phonak 5 Simone Cadamuro (Ita) Domina Vacanze 6 Andre Korff (Ger) T-Mobile 7 Francisco Ventoso (Spa) Saunier Duval 8 Sebastian Siedler (Ger) Wiesenhof 9 Loyd Mondory (Fra) Ag2r 10 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto Overall 1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step 3.45.07 2 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 0.04 3 Robert Hunter (SA) Phonak 4 Rik Reinerink (Hol) Shimano-Memory Corp 0.08 5 Bjorn Schroder (Ger) Wiesenhof 0.09 6 Aurelien Clerc (Swi) Phonak 0.10 7 Simone Cadamuro (Ita) Domina Vacanze 8 Andre Korff (Ger) T-Mobile 9 Francisco Ventoso (Spa) Saunier Duval 10 Sebastian Siedler (Ger) Wiesenhof
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