DOHA (AFP) — Tom Boonen found a familiar spot on the Tour of Qatar podium when he won stage 2 in Al Khor Corniche Monday. Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) was fastest in the bunch sprint to take his 21st career stage win in Qatar at the close of the 160-kilometer leg from the Camel Race Track near Doha.
Michael Morkov (Tinkoff-Saxo) was second and Jürgen Roelandts (Lotto-Belisol) was third.
Boonen’s teammate Niki Terpstra defended his overall lead of five seconds over Roelandts and 14 seconds over Boonen.
“The final 40 kilometers, with the wind on our backs, we were riding at 60-70 kph,” said Boonen. “Toward the finish we were all dead, you could see that by the
fact that only five or six riders took part in the sprint finish.”
The victory could foretell a successful classics campaign for Boonen, four-time winner of Paris-Roubaix.
“Generally, when I do well in Qatar the rest of the season goes well. I hope it’ll be the same this year.”
The Tour of Qatar continues Tuesday with the 10.9km stage 3 individual time trial at the Lusail Circuit.