For the second time on this 11th edition of the Tour of Qatar, Mark Cavendish flew to stage victory. The fastest of a final bunched sprint in Al Khor proudly lifted the arms in the air wearing his World champion’s rainbow jersey, beating Oss and Sagan to the line. Tom Boonen keeps the overall leader’s Golden jersey and closes in on a possible fourth crown with one stage to go.
It’s a tradition now on the Tour of Qatar, the riders were welcomed by hundreds of camels for the start of stage 5 at the Camel Race Track. A picturesque way to start the 160km long day for the 121 remaining riders (2 non starters: Chicchi - OPQ, Gardeyn - CSS).
The pack took off just after noon at a very fast pace making the best of the tailwind (52.3kms covered during the first hour). Five men however managed to break away after five kilometres: Wagner (RNT), Bodnar (LIQ), Kuchynski (KAT), Bertolini (FAR) and Nishizono (BGT), the first man to attack. Their lead went from 1’05 at km 13 to 2’40 at the first intermediate sprint (km 37) won by Kuchynski ahead of Bertolini and Bodnar. The gap reached a maximum 4’40 at km 97.
At the second bonus sprint (km 124.5) claimed by Wagner ahead of Kuchynski and Bodnar, the gap had dropped down to 1’45. Nishizono, Bertolini and Wagner were the first to be caught by the pack at km 129, while Bodnar and Kuchynski insisted. The front two could still enjoy a 1’10 advantage with 25kms to go, and 1’22 with 20kms to go. The peloton bunched up together again ten kilometres from the line. Time had come for a bunched sprint on the Al Khor corniche.
Like on day three, Mark Cavendish powered to victory beating Oss and Sagan to the line. Not quite in the winning pace, Tom Boonen had to settle for 13th spot and keeps his overall leader’s Golden Jersey with a 31" lead over Farrar and 34" over Flecha. The Belgian also keeps the points’ classification lead while Navardauskas remains the best young rider.