Boonen blasts to his second Qatar stage
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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Boonen blasts to his second Qatar stage

by Ben Atkins at 11:07 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Tour of Qatar

Tom Boonen (Quick Step) won stage 5 of the Tour of Qatar between Lusail and Madinat Al Shamal, his second victory of this year’s race. The Belgian champion was the fastest of a peloton split once again by strong winds; Danilo Napolitano (Katusha) was second and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) third. Theo Bos (Cervélo TestTeam), to whom Boonen was overheard offering advice on how to win yesterday, was fourth.

“I'm super happy to win again," said Boonen. "There was a head wind. It was not so easy to pass the other riders. I really did a good and powerful sprint. For the General Standings now it’s too late. We will try to win another stage and then we will see.”

After 18 of the 142km Adam Hansen (HTC-Columbia), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) and Svein Tuft (Garmin-Transitions) broke away; they were soon joined by Martin Reimer (Cervélo TestTeam), Simon Zahner (BMC Racing) and Christophe Riblon (AG2R-La Mondiale), and the six riders built a lead of 1’50” by the first sprint at 46km.

Pressure behind from the Saxo Bank team brought the gap down to just 25 seconds; but when it became clear that the speed was failing to break up the peloton they eased up and the gap rose once more to a maximum of 2’30”. The strong winds took their toll on the breakaway riders though and they were caught with 27km to go, just after the second intermediate sprint.

“About 35 kilometres from the finish we tried several times to open an echelon with no luck. In a moment while the breakaway group was relaxing we caught a break and worked well to recover and put Tom in a position to fight for the sprint. It’s another beautiful success that rewards the work of the entire team,” explianed Quick Step director Wilfried Peeters.

A group of 14 riders, including race leader Wouter Mol (Vacansoleil) briefly detached itself from the splitting peloton. The leaders managed to pull out a lead of 30 seconds but were caught by the front part of the peloton just before the final kilometre. Boonen proved the fastest, as he was in stage 3, and took the 17th Qatar stage of his career.

Race leader Mol and second placed Geert Steurs (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator) managed to stay in front of the split; so Mol retains his 9 second lead over Steurs, with Boonen 1’45” back.

Result stage 5
1. Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step
2. Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Katusha
3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky
4. Theo Bos (Ned) Cervélo TestTeam
5. Juan Jose Haedo (Arg) Saxo Bank
6. Peter Wrolich (Aut) Team Milram
7. Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Liquigas
8. Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervélo TestTeam
9. Bernhard Eisel (Ger) HTC-Columbia
10. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Transitions

Standings after stage 5
1. Wouter Mol (Ned) Vacansoleil
2. Geert Steurs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator
3. Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step


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