Boonen continues winning streak in Qatar
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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Boonen continues winning streak in Qatar

by Bjorn Haake at 8:00 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Tour of Qatar
 

Tom Boonen is back to his desert winning ways, taking the third stage of the Tour of Qatar in dominating fashion. With a huge gear, the Belgian propelled himself past Heinrich Haussler and Baden Cooke.

A crash on the finishing straight, with less than 300m to go, interrupted the sprint. But Boonen was simply too strong, jumping on the left hand side, inside the final 200m. Thanks to the time bonification, Boonen moved past Roger Kluge to third place overall.

Boonen's victory today makes his 16th stage win in Qatar. “It’s a great satisfaction to be back to winning," said Boonen after the stage. "Today the entire team worked really well and in the final the guys were exceptional. It was a very fast sprint, as demonstrated by the highest speed of over 72 km/h registered by my cyclo-computer.

"I had some great sensations during the race. Now our first goal, to win a stage, has been reached. It will be difficult to also be able to conquer the general standings because the actual leader has a great margin of advantage.

"In the next stages the presence of the wind will be fundamental to try to open some gaps and break up the group in an attempt to gain some important seconds for the standings.  It means a lot to me to dedicate today’s victory to the memory of Franco Ballerini, a great man and a great professional, who for me was and will always be a shining example to follow.” Boonen is almost two minutes back in the overall standings.

Boonen said he heard something, but didn't otherwise notice the crash. That is a different result to Milram's Gerald Ciolek, who broke his collarbone.

Early season pushes

The racers enjoyed the race under the sun, but it was also visible that it is early in the season and there were quite a few waves going on, fortunately without accident.

The break of the day consisted of Gatis Smukulis (AG2R La Mondiale) and Steven Van Vooren (Topsport Vlaanderen). But the peloton did not repeat yesterday's mistake and really put the foot down when the two still had more than two minutes 40 kilometers from the finish. In less than ten kilometers the bunch had made up the gap and reached the escapees.

This was followed by the second sprint of the day in Al-Wakra (km 114.5), where Milram started to line up things. Nobody was able to touch the German team and Roger Kluge, who sits in third overall, took the three bonus seconds, ahead of teammate Paco Wrolich. Belgian Philippe Gilbert finished third in the sprint, showing he is already getting in some quality interval training ahead of the Classics.

Garmin took over the front again, which the American team had already done before the catch-and-sprint situation. Quick Step, Cervélo and Milram started to pitch in, as the peloton neared the finish at almost 60 km/h, helped by a slight tailwind.

Results

1 Tom Boonen (Quick Step
2 Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo TestTeam)
3 Baden Cooke (Saxo Bank)
4 Kenny de Haes (Omega Pharma-Lotto)
5 Daniele Bennati (Liquigas-Doimo)
6 Peter Wrolich (Milram)
7 Taylor Phinney (Trek Livestrong U23)
8 Bobbie Traksel (Vacansoleil)
9 Tyler Farrar (Garmin)
10 Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto)

Overall standings after stage 3

1 Wouter Mol (Vacansoleil)
2 Gert Steeurs (Topsport Vlaanderen) at 0'09
3 Tom Boonen (Quick Step) at 1'52
4 Roger Kluge (Milram) at 1'59
 

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