PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Tom Boonen returned to his winning ways by taking out the final stage of the Tour of Qatar in a bunch sprint. Boonen unleashed his powerful sprint as the pack sped home along the beachfront in Doha, once again relegating Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) to second place, and Graeme Brown (Rabobank) to third. Quick.Step completed its domination of the six day race by keeping Wilfried Cretskens in the gold jersey, the 30 year-old domestique winning his first ever stage race. The final stage was held between the Sealine Beach Resort and Doha Corniche, finishing with seven laps of a hotdog-style 9 km beachfront circuit for a total of 134 km. There were 126 riders at the start, and the weather was a little better than in previous days: sunny, with blue skies. The start was slower than in previous stages due to a stiff headwind, and the peloton covered just 37.1 km in the first hour. That didn’t stop the attacks, with the first move by Leon van Bon (Rabobank), Benot Joachim (Astana) and Jerome Pineau (Bouygues) lasting between km 4 and km 11. At km 15, the main move of the day went. Dane Glenn Bak (Gunn-newlyn-m.Donnelly) attacked along with Kenny De Haes (Chocolade Jacques) and Emilien-Benot Berges (Agritubel). The trio quickly built up their lead, enjoying a maximum of 7’45 over the bunch at km 42, where the first intermediate sprint was located. Bak won it ahead of Berges and De Haes. The break had 5’35 by the time it reached the finishing circuit, as the sprinters teams started their work at the front of the bunch. The second sprint (km 79) was won by De Haes in front of Bak and Berges, but all the time, they were being reeled in by the work of Quick.Step, Saunier Duval, Milram, Rabobank and Liquigas. At 30 km to go, the lead was down to 2’30, and the break was running out of legs as it raced along past the palm trees on Doha’s seafront. Glenn Bak was the first to drop out of the break at 20 km to go and De Haes and Bergs were caught just before the start of the last lap. Liquigas and Milram did much of the work in the finale, while Quick.Step also contributed when it counted: near the end. In the last kilometre, it was all Milram with three riders leading out Petacchi, then Boonen on his wheel, and Brown led by Hayman. But Boonen was the first to jump with around 200 metres to go, and Petacchi could only follow but not surpass him. Brown tried to come from behind, but ran out of legs and had to be content with third. Results 1 Tom Boonen (Bel, Quick.Step) 2:56:17 2 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita, Milram) 3 Graeme Brown (Aus, Rabobank) 4 Ren Haselbacher (Aut, Astana) 5 Francesco Chicchi (Ita, Liquigas) 6 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel, Predictor-Lotto) 7 Kenny Van Hummel (Ned, Skil-Shimano) 8 Rieno Stofferis (Bel, Murphy-Gunn/Newlyn/M.Donnely) 9 Lloyd Mondory (Fra, Ag2R Prvoyance) 10 Romain Feillu (Fra, Agritubel) Final general classification 1 Wilfried Cretskens (Bel, Quick.Step) 15:50:58 2 Tom Boonen (Bel, Quick.Step) 0:02:09 3 Steven De Jongh (Ned, Quick.Step) 0:02:44 4 Bernhard Eisel (Aut, T-Mobile) 0:02:52 5 Gregory Henderson (NZl, T-Mobile 0:03:01 6 Andreas Klier (Ger, T-Mobile) 0:03:08 7 Leif Hoste (Bel, Predictor-Lotto) 0:03:09 8 Alexandre Pichot (Fra, Bouygues Telecom) 0:03:11 9 Mathew Hayman (Aus, Rabobank) 0:03:30 10 Servais Knaven (Ned, T-Mobile) 0:03:44 Got a comment? Discuss this in the Procycling forum. What else is new? Check out the Procycling blog.
Quick.Step finished the Tour of Qatar with nearly a clean sweep of stage wins, as Tom Boonen sprinte