Making their first appearance in the Tour of Qatar, Team Sky certainly caused a good impression in the opening team time-trial of the event. The British squad clocked the fastest time on the 8.2km circuit, north of Doha. First to make it to the line was young Norwegian Edvald Boasson-Hagen, simultaneously capturing the overall leaderâ€™s golden jersey.
128 riders at the start; 16 teams
For the third year running the Tour of Qatar started with a team time-trial but this time the opening stage took place on an 8.2km circuit around the West Bay Lagoon, north of Doha. Two days after the final stage of the womenâ€™s event, the wind once again put in an appearance for the men, but Sky actually made the best of it.
The squad managed here by Scott Sunderland powered to the line in an impressive time of 9â€™41. The British teamâ€™s closest rivals ended up being Garmin-Transitions after Cervelo collected a 1â€™ penalty for unauthorised pushing among the riders of their team.
The winners of the team time-trial last year, Garmin-Transitions finished 8â€ť behind. Third place eventually went to Saxo Bank, 13â€ť off the fastest time. The day was however rather disappointing for defending champion Tom Boonen and his Quick Step team as the Belgian formation only managed 5th position, 20â€ť adrift.
After crossing the line in first position, Skyâ€™s Edvald Boasson-Hagen has conquered the first overall leaderâ€™s golden jersey of the event. The mission for the young Norwegian will now be to keep it during the five stages to come as he faces windy conditions and the best sprinters on the planet.
For stage two the silver points jersey will be worn by Juan-Antonio Flecha (SKY). The blue jersey for best young rider will be on the shoulders of Geraint Thomas (SKY).