DOHA, Feb 10, 2014 (AFP) – Tom Boonen claimed the Tour of Qatar second
stage on Monday, the former world champion fending off Denmark’s Michael
Morkov in a sprint finish.
The 33-year-old Belgian’s Omega Pharma teammate, Niki Terpstra of the
Netherlands, retained the leader’s yellow jersey.
Boonen is back in action after missing the second half of last year,
including the world championships in Florence, due to a saddle injury.
Boonen and Morkov were joined on the podium after Monday’s 160-kilometre
ride from the Camel Race Track to Al Khor by another Belgian, Jurgen Roelandts.
“The final 40 kilometres, with the wind on our backs, we were riding at
60-70kmh ,” reported Boonen.
He added: “Towards the finish we were all dead, you could see that by the
fact that only five or six riders took part in the sprint finish.”
This was Boonen’s 21st stage win in Qatar in an event he has already
captured four times.
“Generally, when I do well in Qatar the rest of the season goes well. I
hope it’ll be the same this year.”
Terpstra holds a 14-second advantage over Boonen in the overall standings,
with the Belgian reflecting: “It’s not going to be easy to make up that time
in tomorrow’s time trial, even if I’m going to give my all.”
Tuesday’s third stage, a 10.9km race against the clock, is being held at
the Losail motor racing track near Doha.