Once again, Tom Boonen proved that he feels very much at home in Qatar as he claimed stage 3 of the 2010 event. The Belgian outsprinted his rivals to the line in Mesaieed as he captured his 16th success in Qatar. After yesterdayâs successful breakaway, the pack pulled back the attacks and reached the finish line together. The golden jersey remains on the shoulders of Vacansoleil rider Wouter Mol.
For the first time in its history a stage of the Tour of the Qatar started from the city of Dukhan in the west of the country. Unlike the previous days the wind dropped and was favourable for almost the whole course. Like yesterday the first breakaway occurred after only 2 kilometres when Lodewijk (TSV) took off with Hinault (ALM) and Dowset (TLS). Their lead however never went over the 55â mark and they were eventually reeled in at kilometre 23 after the pack picked up the pace, taking advantage of a Â¾ tailwind.
The main field remained together all the way to the first intermediate sprint (km 57.5) claimed by Napolitano (KAT) ahead of Haussler (CTT) and Burghardt (BMC). At kilometre 60, Smukulis (ALM) and Van Dooren (TSV) gave it a go. An interesting move it was as their lead grew and finally reached a maximum 2â30 at km 72. But as the leaders continued heading east, the Cervelo and Garmin-Transitions teams got the chase started and the gap dropped. The escapees were finally caught at km 107. The bunch then reached the second bonus sprint (km 114.5) won by Best Young Rider Kluge (MRM) ahead of Wrolich (MRM) and Gilbert (OLO).
The field remained together all the way to the finish line in Mesaieed for the first big battle between the top guns of the 2010 Tour of Qatar. Beautifully led out by Quick Step team mate Andreas Stauff, Tom Boonen powered to the line ahead of his rivals. The Belgian won his sixteenth stage in Qatar ahead of Heinrich Haussler (CTT) and Baden Cooke (SAX). The golden jersey remains in possession of Wouter Mol (VAC) who keeps a 9â advantage over Steurs (TSV) while Boonen is now 1â55 adrift. The silver points jersey switches shoulders and goes to Haussler (CTT).