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The riders signed to bring more oomph to Tom Boonen's sprint 'train' have confirmed they have got very quickly into their stride by setting up the world champion for his second consecutive stage win at the Tour of Qatar this afternoon. The Belgian came home ahead of Panaria's Paride Grillo and Milram's Erik Zabel on the 138km stage from Camel Race Track to the Al Khor Corniche, cementing his position as overall leader in the process. Boonen also won the Doha International event at the weekend.
For some time it appeared that a brave solo break by Belgian Pieter Ghyllebert (Chocolade Jacques) would be rewarded with the stage win and overall lead. His advantage stretched to 15 minutes, but a strong headwind sapped the Belgian and he was caught three kilometres from the finish.
"Today it was not our intention to win at any cost," Boonen explained. "However, the race situation has put us in the right position to try the sprint and. finally everything went well.
"But it wasn't an easy day. The wind and the sometimes dangerous roads made the course difficult. There were lots of falls and punctures, and you had to be careful. It was very nervy in the final section. But once my team-mates set me up I controlled the sprint perfectly."
Stage 2, Camel Race Track-Al Khor Corniche
1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step-Innergetic 138km in 3.31.06 (39.22kph)
2 Paride Grillo (Ita) Panaria
3 Erik Zabel (Ger) Milram
4 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) CSC
5 Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Wiesenhof
6. Rene Haselbacher (Aut) Gerolsteiner
7 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank
8 Kenny van Hummel (Hol) Skil-Shimano
9 Aitor Galdos (Spa) Panaria
10 Robert Hunter (SA) Phonak
1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step-Innergetic 6.27.20
2 Zabel 0.10
3 Aurlien Clerc (Swi) Phonak 0.11
4 Hunter 0.16
5 Steven de Jongh (Hol) Quick Step 0.17
6 Nicolas Jalabert (Fra) Phonak 0.19
7 Fabrizio Guidi (Ita) Phonak 0.20
8 Aart Vierhouten (Hol) Skil-Shimano
9 Nick Ingels (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto
10 Sebastian Lang (Ger) Gerolsteiner
Three out of three for BoonenClose
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