Tom Boonen (Quick Step) beat sprint rival Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) in the first sprint finish of the 2007 Tour of Qatar on Monday.
A late surge by team mate Steven de Jongh dragged Boonen ahead of the Milram lead out train and then he blasted down the left as Petacchi lead out the sprint on the right. Petacchi showed he has recovered from his knee problems but Boonen was stronger and faster to score a moral boosting win after the accusations against his Quick Step team in the Belgian press.
Boonen won the 136km stage by half a wheel with Australia?s Graeme Brown (Rabobank) third. Brown switched across the road, bringing down Tom Steels (Predictor) and was later relgated to last in the bunch sprint. Third place was given to Jean-Patrick Nazon (Ag2r), while Steels was left with a broken collarbone and five stitches in a head wound.
Thanks to his stage win, Boonen took the race lead and will wear the gold leader’s jersey during Tuesday 140km third stage from Dohat Salwa to Khalifa Stadium.Thanks to Quick Step’s win in the team time trial prologue stage on Sunday Boonen’s team mates Steven de Jongh and Gert Steegmans are second and third at 7 and 9 seconds respectively. Petacchi is fourth at 9 seconds.
There will be more from the Tour of Qatar from our man Ed Pickering in Doha later today.
AL WAKRA-QATAR OLYMPIC COMMITTEE (135.5km)
1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step 3-01-50
2 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Milram st
3 Jean-Patrick Nazon (Fra) Ag2r Prévoyance st
4 Kenny Van Hummel (Hol) Skil-Shimano st
5 Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Liquigas st
6 Lloyd Mondyor (Fra) Ag2r Prévoyance st
7 Aurélien Clerc (Fra) Bouygues Telecom st
8 Francisco Ventoso (Spa) Saunier Duval st
9 Luciano Pagliarini (Bra) Saunier Duval st
10 Robert Förster (Ger) Gerolsteiner st
1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step 3-08-13
2 Steven De Jongh (Hol) Quick Step at 7sec
3 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Quick Step at 8sec
4 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Milram at 9sec
5 Wilfried Cretsckens (Bel) Quick Step at 10sec
6 Marco Velo (Ita) Milram at 15sec
7 Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Gerolsteiner at 15sec
8 Fabio Sacchi (Ita) Milram at 15sec
9 Alessandro Cortinovis (Ita) Milram at 15sec
10 Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Liquigas at 17sec