Quick Step bounced back from the worst week in their history with a team time trial win on Doha’s Al Corniche road in the Tour of Qatar.
While former rider Johan Museeuw and team manager Patrick Lefevre are embroiled in separate scandals back home, the riders made no secret of their desire to defend Tom Boonen’s Tour of Qatar title, riding in tight formation around the windy Bay of Doha to finish five seconds in front of Milram.
Liquigas were third a further two seconds back. Quick Step domestique Steven De Jongh (pictured) was first across the line, giving him the leader’s yellow jersey.
On the podium, Tom Boonen pointed at the logo on his jersey, then gave a thumbs-up signal to the press photographers. If Quick Step have been damaged by the recent scandal in Belgium, it hasn’t shown in their riding.
Stage two, 135 kilometres from Al Wakra to Doha, will pit Boonen against Alessandro Petacchi for the first time head to head in a sprint since early 2006, before the Italian injured his knee at the 2006 Giro d’Italia.
Tour of Qatar: Top 10 after stage one
1 Steven De Jongh (Hol) Quick Step 6-33
2 Wilfried Cretskens (Bel) Quick Step st
3 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step st
4 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Quick Step st
5 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Quick Step st
6 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Milram at 5sec
7 Marco Velo (Ita) Milram st
8 Alessandro Cortinovis (Ita) Milram st
9 Fabio Sacchi (Ita) Milram st
10 Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Milram st
1 Quick Step-Innergetic 6-33
2 Milram at 5sec
3 Liquigas at 7sec
4 Predictor-Lotto at 9sec
5 T-Mobile at 11sec
6 Ag2r Prévoyance at 11sec
7 Astana at 13sec
8 Rabobank at 14sec
9 Saunier Duval-Prodir at 14sec
10 Bouygues Telecome at 16sec
11 Skil-Shimano at 16sec
12 Gerolsteiner at 18sec
13 Chocolade Jacques at 21sec
14 Agritubel at 32sec
15 Gunn-Newlyn-M. Donnelly at36sec
16 Doha Team at 45sec
17 Iran at 55sec