Mark CAVENDISH (THR)Â© A.S.O.
Tom BOONEN (QST)Â© A.S.O.
The final stage of the Tour of Qatar, mainly competed on a circuit on the Doha Corniche, ended with a sprint victory of Mark Cavendish, the second of the week. While the Brit claimed his second dual against Tom Boonen, the Belgian however clinches his third overall success in Qatar, after 2006 and 2008.
Stage 6: Sealine Beach Resort - Doha Corniche, 121 km
119 riders at the start, 16 teams
Nice weather, no wind.
After visiting the northern tip of the country, it was in the south and more precisely at the Sealine Beach Resort that the riders of the Tour of Qatar took off for the finale stage of the event. A sixth day without that wind that played a key part all along the competition.
As soon as kilometre 2, a breakaway including 6 riders shaped up after a first attack by Smukulis (ALM). Alongside the Latvian were: Corioni (LIQ), Knaven (MRM), Sapa (LAM), Beyer (BMC) and Pollock (DPC). Off on a counter-attack, two men, Tolleson (BMC) and Kikuchi (EQA) started moving closer by a puncture of the Japanese stopped this attempt.
The escapees rapidly increased their lead, it reached a maximum 5â€™15 at kilometre 21. At the first intermediate sprint at Al Khor (km 39,5) won by Sapa ahead of Pollock and Smukulis, the group of 6 could still enjoy a 4â€™15 advantage. Mainly led by the Katoucha and Columbia teams, the pack continued moving closer of the front men. At the first passage on the line of the final 9km circuit (km 58), the gap had dropped to 4â€™30. At the second bonus sprint (3rd passage, km 76), Knaven beat Pollock and Smukulis Nine kilometres later, the gap was only of 2â€™05.
The 6 courageous riders were finally to be caught at kilometre 106. There were then just under two laps to go. The sprintersâ€™ teams continued working at the front of the pack, controlling the situation and eventually over 70 riders remained together for decision time. A royal sprint claimed, like two days ago at Madinat Al Shamal, by Brit Mark Cavendish (THR). The four-stage winner on the last Tour de France managed to beat Forster (MRM) and Haussler (CTT) to the line.
Overall, Tom Boonen, 10th on the day kept his lead and therefore conquers his third Tour of Qatar. Heinrich Haussler, second overall at 8â€™â€™ wins both the silver points jersey and the blue â€˜Aspireâ€™ jersey of the best young rider. With 6 riders in the final Top 10 (8 in the first 16 positions), the Cervelo squad naturally finishes best team of this 8th Tour of Qatar.