Belgian sprinter Tom Steels ended the first road stage of the Tour of Qatar lying on the road on Monday, after a high-speed clash with Australia?s Graeme Brown (Rabobank) in the final hundred metres of the sprint.
The 35-year old sprinter landed heavily, breaking his collarbone and cutting his head but his helmet saved him from much more serious injuries. He was taken to hospital in Doha but was released after getting five stitches in his head wound. According to his Predictor team, he will fly home on Tuesday for an operation to pin his collarbone and will be off the bike for at least week.
Steels crashed after Brown cut across the road in the final hundred metres of the sprint. Brown was on Alessandro Petacchi?s wheel but jumped across the road when he realized Boonen was going faster on the other side of the road. Steels was on Brown?s wheel and was moving up as Brown veered to his right but he lost balance and fell on his side and head.
Boonen beat Petacchi to win the sprint and Brown crossed the line in third place but he was later relegated to last place. Thanks to a ten-second time bonus, Boonen is the new race leader and will wear the gold leader?s jersey during Tuesday 140km third stage from Dohat Salwa to Khalifa Stadium.