Tom Boonen is on a roll at the Tour of Qatar after winning the third stage of the race on Tuesday with his powerful sprint.

Boonen beat Italy?s Danilo Napolitano (Lampre) and team mate Steven De Jongh in the sprint at the end of the 147.5km stage to extend his lead in the overall classification to 13 seconds. De Jongh is second, with Greg Avermaet (Silence) third at 23 seconds.

The Quick Step team won the opening team time trial on Sunday, Boonen won on Monday after and has now taken his total of wins in Qatar to 15 in just four years.

However this latest stage win was not as easy for Boonen as the finish line photo indicates. He was again part of the echelon that formed in the second half of the stage but almost crashed when a rider went down in front of him and was forced to chase with his team mates as his rivals tried everything they could to gain time.

Argyle army: Julian Dean (l), David Millar and Magnus Backstedt (r) show off three versions of the Team Slipstream kit. Photos: ISPA

The pursuit match lasted for 47km but Quick Step finally caught the front group and the peloton came back together for the sprint. Lampre and Silence worked hard to position their sprinters but Quick Step set up Boonen and then he powered away to his third consecutive stage win.

David Millar (Slipstream) finished in 72nd place, 3-35 behind Boonen.


Camel Race Track-Qatar Foundation, 147.5km
1. Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step in 3-29-41
2. Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Lampre
3. Steven De Jongh (Ned) Quick Step
4. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Silence-Lotto
5. Christopher Sutton (Aus) Slipstream
6. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Silence-Lotto
7. Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) Silence-Lotto
8. Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Quick Step
9. Alberto Loddo (Ita) Tinkoff
10. Sebastian Siedler (Ger) Skil-Shimano all same time.


1. Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step in 6-04-30
2. Steven De Jongh (Bel) Quick Step at 13sec
3. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Silence-Lotto at 23sec
4. Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Lampre at 25sec
5. Chris Sutton (Aus) Slipstream at 26sec
6. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Silence-Lotto at 32sec
7. Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Bouygues Telecom at 50sec
8. Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Silence-Lotto at 54sec
9. Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Quick Step at 59sec
10. Wilfried Cretskens (Bel) Quick Step at 1-03

Stage three. Photos: ISPA


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