Qatar 3: Tom Boonen back to winning ways

Belgian takes overall race lead in the desert

Tom Boonen took his first win of the season outside Doha's Golf Club in the Tour of Qatar today, winning the 137.5km Stage 3. It came on the day a Belgian court ruled that the QuickStep rider would not face further charges stemming over the positive control for cocaine in 2008.

"My season really started today," said Belgium's Boonen in response to the court ruling that it would not pursue further charges.

Boonen sprinted clear of an elite group of 26 at the end of a 137.5-kilometre stage from Al Zubarah. He won over Danilo Napolitano (Katusha), Belgian Champion Jürgen Roelandts (Silence-Lotto) and Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo Test Team).

The entire Cervélo team made the final move, including race leader Roger Hammond. He finished sixth and slightly behind Boonen. With the 10 bonus seconds for winning, Boonen now leads the race with six seconds over Hammond.

"There are a lot more guys, and I am pretty surprised by the Cervélo team. I was not expecting to see them in such good shape this early," Boonen said.

For complete results with photos, visit www.cyclingnews.com.

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