GARMIN - SLIPSTREAMÂ© A.S.O.
Only just beaten a year ago during the opening team time-trial of the Tour of Qatar, the Garmin-Slipstream team this time managed to triumph on the Doha Corniche, out pacing the Quickstep boys, winners in 2009. Great Britainâ€™s Bradley Wiggins captures the golden jersey.
Stage 1: Team time-trial, 6 kilometres
134 riders at the start; one non-starter: Nuyens (Rab); 17 teams
Fine weather, slight wind
For the second year running the Tour of Qatar started with a team time-trial on the Doha Corniche. A collective effort on a 6 km course to smoothly take off for this 8th edition under the bright sky of the Middle-East and without â€“for the moment- too much wind.
Only beaten for two tiny seconds a year ago by the Quickstep squad, so comfortable on Qatari soil, the Garmin-Slipstream team enjoyed a sweet revenge beating their rivals by under a second.
The riders managed here Johnny Weltz clocked the best time of 6â€™35, the exact same performance established a year ago by the stage winners. This success allows the first man on the line, Bradley Wiggins, to conquer the overall leaderâ€™s golden jersey. The triple Olympic track gold medallist (in Athens and Beijing) and time-trial specialist starts his year in style. Itâ€™ll probably be a whole different story tomorrow for the first regular stage heading north, where he will face the sprint specialists on their preferred ground and a wind that should be a lot trickier.
The silver points jersey will, on the occasion of this second stage, be carried by Hans Dekkers (GRM). The blue jersey for best young rider will be on the shoulders of Huub Duyn (GRM).