Boonen sprints to 22nd stage win

Stage summary12.02.2014Stage 4- Dukhan / Mesaieed

To those who thought Tom Boonen was no longer a master of sprints, the Belgian gave quite an answer on day 4 of the Tour of Qatar. After one of the fastest stages in the event's history, the Omega Pharma-Quickstep rider made the best of a bunched sprint to beat André Greipel and Barry Markus. Boonen captures his 22nd stage win in Qatar, his second of this 2014 edition. Among the leading group, Niki Terpstra keeps his overall leader's Golden Jersey.

A fast stage was to be expected as the 149 riders of the Tour of Qatar gathered in Dukhan, west of the country, for the start of the day's race. Indeed strong winds were blowing across the peninsula and were to be favourable along the 135-kilometre course heading to Mesaieed, on the eastern coast of Qatar. And the pace was extremely fast straight from the start. After the pack broke apart after only 4 kilometres and Lars Boom (BEL) suffered a puncture, all but 50 dropped riders bunched up again at km 36. Led by team Omega Pharma – Quickstep, the pack was to cover 58.9 kilometres during the first hour of racing.

The first intermediate sprint (km 60.5) that race leader Niki Terpstra failed to fight for, due to a puncture, was claimed by Morkov (TCS) ahead of Roelandts (LTB) and Kroon (TCS). At km 87, Philippe Gilbert (BMC), like on day 2, tried his luck at the front, taking with him Salomein (TSV). After enjoying a 20” lead at km 89, both men were caught back as the pack again exploded into several groups at km 96, under the influence of the crosswind. Around thirty riders including all the OPQS boys powered away while Boom (BEL), Cancellara (TFR) and Démare (FDJ) were trapped behind. The gap grew rapidly and reached 38” at km 120 but fifty men, without Boom and Cancellara, gathered together again with 5 kilometres to go.

The decision was to be made in a bunched sprint on the long final straight in Mesaieed. With some of the best sprinting specialists in the world present in Qatar, the battle proved to be spectacular as Tom Boonen only just beat André Greipel (LTB). The difference between both men on the line: 0.003 of a second.

At an impressive average speed of 56.8 km/h, the Belgian claimed his 22nd stage win in Qatar, his second this year after conquering stage 2 in Al Khor. Third spot of the sprint went to Dutchman Barry Markus (BEL). Part of the leading group, like all of his team mates, Niki Terpstra keeps command of the overall standings and now has a 17” lead over Tom Boonen (OPQ), back in second spot, and 20” over Jurgen Roelandts. He'll therefore carry on wearing the Golden Jersey on tomorrow's penultimate stage in the north of Qatar. Thanks to his win, Boonen takes command of the points' classification while Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (OPQ) remains best young rider.

Stage 4 Dukhan / Mesaieed

All about the stage key moments

Jersey wearers after the stage 6

Classifications after the stage 6

Subscribe

Receive exclusive news about Tour of Qatar

Partners of Tour of Qatar