Tom Boonen today took his second stage win of this year’s Tour of Qatar as the day once again finished with a big bunch sprint.
The Belgian took advantage of Theo Bos’ premature dash for the line to narrowly edge out Daniele Napolitano and Edvald Boasson Hagen.
The 142km stage from Lusail to Madinat Al Shamal featured much heavier crosswinds than the two previous stages, splitting the peloton into pieces. With ten kilometres remaining, Boonen was in the second group with Liquigas sprinter Francesco Chicchi and race leader Wouter Mol 15 seconds up the road, his chances of a second stage win seemingly dashed.
Thanks to some hard work from Sky and Boonen’s Quick Step team, the gap slowly started to narrow.
Approaching the final kilometre, and with three riders in the lead group, it was Liquigas’ race to lose. Manuel Quinziato tried in vain to break away with Marcus Burghardt of BMC quick to shut the Italian down.
The cat and mouse antics cost the lead group dear, however, as the Boonen group bore down on them within the final few hundred metres.
Once again, Dutchman Theo Bos launched his sprint too early, fading 150 metres before the line. All that was left for Boonen to do was wait for him to fade, come around the Dutchman and take what was his 17th career win in Qatar.
Race leader Wouter Mol, who rode so strongly to protect his lead in the front group, finished in the bunch to keep his jersey safe heading into tomorrow’s final stage.
Tour of Qatar, stage five: 142km, Lusail-Madinat Al Shamal
1. Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step
2. Daniele Napolitano (Ita) Katusha
3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky
4. Theo Bos (Ned) Cervelo
5. Juan Jose Haedo (Arg) Saxo Bank
6. Peter Wrolich (Aut) Milram
7. Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Liquigas
8. Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervélo
9. Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Columbia
10. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin
15. Roger Hammond (GB) Cervelo at same time
25. Jeremy Hunt (GB) Cervelo at same time
59. Russell Downing (GB) Team Sky at 1-15
100. Ian Stannard (GB) Team Sky at 2-10
114. Alex Dowsett (GB) Trek-Livestrong at 2-10
119. Geraint Thomas (GB) Team Sky at 2-33
121. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky at 2-33
General Classification after stage five
1. Wouter Mol (Ned) Vacansoleil
2. Geert Steurs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator at 0-09
3. Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step at 1-45
4. Roger Kluge (Ger) Milram at 1-59
5. Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC at 2-05
6. Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Katusha at 2-09
7. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto at 2-17
8. Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervelo at 2-37
9. Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Liquigas at 2-38
10. Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Saxo Bank at 2-40
Riders line up for the start of stage five
Tom Boonen takes his second stage win of 2010
Wouter Mol maintains his race lead, and now looks to have sealed the 2010 overall win
Boonen says overall victory is still a possibility in Qatar
Arvesen suffers collarbone break in Qatar
Bradley Wiggins set to make Team Sky debut at 2010 Tour of Qatar
2009 Tour of Qatar photo gallery
2010 UCI World Calendar: ProTour and Historic races
Cycling Weekly: Rider Profiles index