Dutchman Wouter Mol (Vacansoleil) has won the 2010 Tour of Qatar after finishing safely in the main field during today’s 123.5km final stage. Mol set himself up for the victory on Stage 2 where he and Geert Steurs (Topsport Vlaanderen) broke away from the peloton and finished with a 2 minute lead over the rest of the field. Continue reading for a blow by blow account of the race from stage 3 through to the end.
Quick Step’s Tom Boonen sprinted to victory in the third stage of the Tour of Qatar on Tuesday, powering in ahead of Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo TestTeam) and Saxo Bank’s Baden Cooke at the end of a 136.5km stage from Dukham to Mesaieed.
The stage win – along with a 10-second time bonus – moved the Belgian champion into third place in the overall standings. The two men who initiated a successful break on Monday – Wouter Mol (Vacansoleil) and Geert Steurs (Topsport Vlaanderen) – continue to lead on GC, with a 1:55 advantage over Boonen.
Bonnen’s win was marred by a massive pile-up in the main field as several riders crashed about 200 meters from the line.
“It was really hard to get everybody organized,” Boonen said of his Quick Step lead-out. “And it was a real battle with the roundabouts in the final. But everybody did a good job. Surprisingly, Andreas Stauff was the last man. He dropped me off at 350 (meters) to go. It was pretty long. I waited for a few seconds, but then I had to go to have my speed coming out of the corner. I went at 250 or something. I was waiting for them to come but nobody came, so I think I was the strongest one.”
Francesco Chicchi won the fourth stage of the Tour of Qatar in a field sprint ahead of Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo) and JJ Haedo (Saxo Bank). Race leader Wouter Mol (Vacansoleil) finished in the front group to retain the gold jersey.
In the final sprint alongside the gulf water’s edge, Cervélo’s track star-turned roadie Theo Bos opened up the sprint, but it was Liquigas’ Chicchi who punched the accelerator when it counted.
Chicchi, wearing a black armband in memory of the late Franco Ballerini, pointed to the armband and then the sky as he coasted across the finish.
“We wanted to win for Franco,” Chicchi said of the former Italian team coach. “This win is for him.”
Quick Step’s Tom Boonen, winner of the previous day’s stage and a three-time champion of the overall in Qatar, finished eleventh. American under-23 rider Taylor Phinney (Trek-Livestrong) placed eighth, his second top-10 finish in as many days.
In the closing kilometers as the peloton wound up the speed, Garmin’s Tyler Farrar suffered the first of what would be four flat tires on the day. At 20km to go he flatted his rear tire. He got a quick change and chased back on. At 14km to go he again flatted his rear, and this time screeched to a halt alongside the sandy road, as did teammate Murilo Fischer who quickly gave up his own wheel and pushed Farrar once he was back on his bike. Then, with about 4km to go, Farrar hit a big hole and both his tires went flat.
“It was ridiculous, but at least we all finished upright today,” said Farrar, who has lost two teammates to broken bones in as many days.
Tom Boonen sprinted into a headwind to take stage 5 of the Tour of Qatar after a 14-man echelon was swept up in the closing kilometers. Katusha’s Danilo Napolitano took second ahead of Team Sky’s Edvald Boasson Hagen.
Race leader Wouter Mol, who had made the select 14-man echelon, crossed the line safely in the front group to all but secure his overall win ahead of the final day’s flat circuit finish.
Cervélo’s Theo Bos again fired the first shot in the sprint, jumping a bit too early as he did the day before. Bos had tried to connect with teammate Heinrich Haussler to lead him out, but was unable to do so and decided to go for it himself.
“It was way too early,” said Bos, a five-time world champion on a track. “The matter is I have to become a road cyclist more. I’m still too much a 100-meter sprinter. I have to become more of an endurance athlete. And now of course I don’t know what to do – do I go, do I wait? But anyway our first sprinter is Heinrich. My job is to get him in the front.”
After the finish, Haussler, who still holds the points jersey, was not too happy with himself. “I stuffed it,” he said.
Francesco Chicchi (Liquigas) scored his second win of the 2010 Tour of Qatar, outsprinting American Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions) at the end of a 123.5km final stage.
Dutchman Wouter Mol (Vacansoleil) finished in the main field, preserving his hold on the leader’s jersey that he captured on Monday, succeeding in a long two-man break with Geert Steurs (Topsport).
After an all-day four-man breakaway was swept up inside the last of six finishing-circuit laps, Chicchi sprinted to victory.
Images Courtesy Graham Watson