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Boonen scores hat trick in Qatar

World champion Tom Boonen (Quick Step) maintained his perfect start to the Tour of Qatar with victory in Wednesday's 160km third stage. The 25-year-old Belgian once again beat Germany's Erik Zabel (Milram) and Matti Breschel (CSC) of Denmark to add to his wins in the first two stages. Once again the stage was marked by blustery winds and an early break, as Bart Van Heule (Chocolade Jacques-T Interim), René Weissinger (Skil-Shimano) and Geert Omloop (Unibet) took off at 12km. Twenty-four kilometers later, they were joined by a counterattacking bunch of six: Chris Horner

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By Agence France Presse, and staff reports

Boonen shows Zabel his heels for the third straight day

Boonen shows Zabel his heels for the third straight day

Photo: Graham Watson

World champion Tom Boonen (Quick Step) maintained his perfect start to the Tour of Qatar with victory in Wednesday’s 160km third stage.

Giving it the gas

Giving it the gas

Photo: Graham Watson

The 25-year-old Belgian once again beat Germany’s Erik Zabel (Milram) and Matti Breschel (CSC) of Denmark to add to his wins in the first two stages.

Once again the stage was marked by blustery winds and an early break, as Bart Van Heule (Chocolade Jacques-T Interim), René Weissinger (Skil-Shimano) and Geert Omloop (Unibet) took off at 12km.

Horner sprang to life on today's stage, too

Horner sprang to life on today’s stage, too

Photo: Graham Watson

Twenty-four kilometers later, they were joined by a counterattacking bunch of six: Chris Horner (Davitamon-Lotto), Sven Krauss (Gerolsteiner), Tristan Valentin (Cofidis), Christian Knees (Milram), Lilian Jegou (Française des Jeux) and Rik Reinerink (Skil-Shimano).

But the pack was unimpressed and cruised along as the gap gradually grew from about three minutes to eight at the first intermediate sprint in Messaied, won by Krauss ahead of Valentin and Reinerink.

Neither was Quick Step

Neither was Quick Step

Photo: Graham Watson

That was as far ahead as the leaders would get. With Quick Step and CSC marshaling the pursuit, the pack broke into thirds and the gap began dwindling.

The front group of chasers caught the nine leaders at 102km. Nine kilometers later, Clerc took the second intermediate sprint in Ramdat Rashed ahead of Zabel and Breschel.

Zabel was in the hunt once again

Zabel was in the hunt once again

Photo: Graham Watson

At 117km, a 17-man break formed, but lasted only 10km. The final shot was fired by Tim Klinger (Team Wiesenhof), who escaped with 12km to go only to be caught 4km from the finish.

Once again, Boonen’s team controlled the finale, launching the world champion toward his third consecutive win. The Belgian retained the golden and silver jerseys, while Breschel captured the blue jersey.

Another Belgian and his French pal seem to be enjoying the racing

Another Belgian and his French pal seem to be enjoying the racing

Photo: Graham Watson

“It was really hard over the last four kilometers into the wind,” said Boonen.

Top 10 results
Stage

1. Tom Boonen (B), Quick Step, 160km in 3:34:50
2. Erik Zabel (G), Milram, same time
3. Mickael Breschel (Den), CSC, s.t.
4. Paride Grillo (I), Panararia Ceramiche-Navigare, s.t.
5. Robert Forster (G), Gerolsteiner, s.t.
6. Steven de Jongh (Ned), s.t.
7. Wouter Van Mechelen (B), Chocolade Jacques-T Interim. s.t.
8. Nico Eeckhout (B), Eeckhout, s.t.
9. Stuart O’Grady (Aus), CSC, s.t.
10. Bernhard Eisel (A), Française des Jeux, all same time

Overall (after three stages)
1. Tom Boonen (B), Quick Step, 10:02:00
2. Erik Zabel (G), Milram, at 0:12
3. Aurelien Clerc (Swi), Phonak, at 0:18
4. Robert Hunter (RSA), Phonak, at 0:26
5. Matti Breschel (Den), CSC, at 0:27
6. Steven De Jongh (Ned), Quick Step, s.t.
7. Nicolas Jalabert (F), Phonak, at 0:29
8. Fabrizio Guidi (I), Phonak, at 0:30
9. Nick Ingels (B), Davitamon-Lotto, s.t.
10. Aart Vierhouten (Ned), Skil-Shimano, s.t.

Photo Gallery

Results

Stage

1. Tom Boonen (B), Quick Step, 160km in 3:34:50

2. Erik Zabel (G), Milram, same time

3. Matti Breschel (Dk), CSC, s.t.

4. Paride Grillo (I), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, s.t.

5. Robert Forster (G), Gerolsteiner, s.t.

6. Steven De Jongh (Nl), Quick Step, s.t.

7. Wouter Van Mechelen (B), Chocolade Jacques-T Interim, s.t.

8. Nico Eeckhout (B), Chocolade Jacques-T Interim, s.t.

9. Stuart O’Grady (Aus), CSC, s.t.

10. Bernhard Eisel (A), Francaise des Jeux, s.t.

11. Nick Ingels (B), Davitamon-Lotto, s.t.

12. Peter Wrolich (A), Gerolsteiner, s.t.

13. Fabrizio Guidi (I), Phonak, s.t.

14. Sergio Marinangeli (I), Naturino-Sapore Di Mare, s.t.

15. Graeme Brown (Aus), Rabobank, s.t.

16. Robert Hunter (RSA), Phonak, s.t.

17. Aurélien Clerc (Swi), Phonak, s.t.

18. Carlo Westphal (G), Team Wiesenhof, s.t.

19. Weissinger René (G), Skil-Shimano, s.t.

20. Nicolas Jalabert (F), Phonak, s.t.

21. Hervé Duclos-Lassalle (F), Cofidis, s.t.

22. Aart Vierhouten (Nl), Skil-Shimano, s.t.

23. Christophe Detilloux (B), Francaise des Jeux, s.t.

24. Alexandr Dymovskikh (Kaz), Capec, s.t.

25. Maarten Tjallingii (Nl), Skil-Shimano, s.t.

26. Fabian Cancellara (Swi), CSC, s.t.

27. Marcel Sieberg (G), Team Wiesenhof, s.t.

28. Hans Dekkers (Nl), Agritubel, s.t.

29. Van Hummel Kenny Robert (Nl), Skil-Shimano, s.t.

30. Massimiliano Mori (I), Naturino-Sapore Di Mare, s.t.

31. Murilo Fischer (Bra), Naturino-Sapore Di Mare, s.t.

32. Tim Klinger (G), Team Wiesenhof, s.t.

33. Leon Van Bon (Nl), Davitamon-Lotto, s.t.

34. Volker Ordowski (G), Gerolsteiner, s.t.

35. Paul Martens (G), Skil-Shimano, s.t.

36. Sebastian Siedler (G), Milram, s.t.

37. Enrico Poitschke (G), Milram, s.t.

38. Luca Ascani (I), Naturino-Sapore Di Mare, s.t.

39. Guido Trenti (USA), Quick Step, s.t.

40. Tristan Valentin (F), Cofidis, s.t.

41. Sebastian Lang (G), Gerolsteiner, s.t.

42. Rik Reinerink (Nl), Skil-Shimano, s.t.

43. Gerben Lowik (Nl), Rabobank, s.t.

44. Mickael Delage (F), Francaise des Jeux, s.t.

45. Frédéric Finot (F), Francaise des Jeux, s.t.

46. Martin Pedersen (Dk), CSC, s.t.

47. Lilian Jegou (F), Francaise des Jeux, s.t.

48. Luke Roberts (Aus), CSC, s.t.

49. Martin Mueller (Swi), Milram, s.t.

50. Geert Omloop (B), Unibet, s.t.

51. Marcus Ljungqvist (Swe), CSC, s.t.

52. Christian Knees (G), Milram, s.t.

53. Frank Hoj (Dk), Gerolsteiner, s.t.

54. Sven Krauss (G), Gerolsteiner, s.t.

55. Bart Vanheule (B), Chocolade Jacques-T Interim, s.t.

56. Carlos Da Cruz (F), Francaise des Jeux, s.t.

57. Erik Dekker (Nl), Rabobank, s.t.

58. Jan Boven (Nl), Rabobank, s.t.

59. Wilfried Cretskens (B), Quick Step, s.t.

60. Jérémy Hunt (GB), Unibet, at 0:12

61. Matteo Priamo (I), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 0:12

62. Uros Murn (Slo), Phonak, at 0:12

63. José Alberto Martinez (Sp), Agritubel, at 0:12

64. Lars Michaelsen (Dk), CSC, at 0:31

65. Kevin Hulsmans (B), Quick Step, at 0:41

66. Matteo Tosatto (I), Quick Step, at 0:41

67. Christopher Horner (USA), Davitamon-Lotto, at 0:50

68. Servais Knaven (Nl), Quick Step, at 1:59

69. Kévin Van Impe (B), Quick Step, at 1:59

70. Christoph Meschenmoser (G), Skil-Shimano, at 5:29

71. Stefan Cohnen (Nl), Naturino-Sapore Di Mare, at 5:29

72. David Boucher (F), Unibet, at 7:00

73. Erwin Thijs (B), Unibet, at 7:00

74. Bjorn Schroeder (G), Milram, at 7:00

75. Lubor Tesar (Cz), Team Wiesenhof, at 7:00

76. Wim De Vocht (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 7:00

77. Gorik Gardeyn (B), Unibet, at 7:00

78. Sébastien Minard (F), Cofidis, at 7:00

79. Camille Bouquet (F), Unibet, at 7:00

80. Thorwald Veneberg (Nl), Rabobank, at 7:00

81. Jan Kuyckx (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 7:00

82. Brett Lancaster (Aus), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 7:00

83. Koen Barbe (B), Chocolade Jacques-T Interim, at 7:00

84. Aivaras Baranauskas (Lit), Agritubel, at 7:00

85. Arno Wallaard (Nl), Skil-Shimano, at 7:00

86. Nicholas Roche (IRL), Cofidis, at 7:00

87. Ben Johnson (Aus), Agritubel, at 7:00

88. Gert Steegmans (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 7:00

89. Aldape Chavez Moises (Mex), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 7:00

90. Nico Mattan (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 7:00

91. Kasper Klostergaard (Dk), CSC, at 7:00

92. Cyrille Monnerais (F), Francaise des Jeux, at 7:00

93. Alexey Zaitsev (Kaz), Capec, at 14:42

94. Felix Odebrecht (G), Team Wiesenhof, at 14:42

95. Ilya Chernyshov (Kaz), Capec, at 14:42

96. Frédéric Gabriel (F), Unibet, at 14:42

97. Jukka Vastaranta (FIN), Rabobank, at 14:42

98. Ralf Grabsch (G), Milram, at 14:42

99. Maarten Den Bakker (Nl), Milram, at 14:42

100. Florian Stalder (Swi), Phonak, at 14:42

101. Benoit Sinner (F), Agritubel, at 14:42

102. Martin Mares (Cz), Naturino-Sapore Di Mare, at 14:42

103. Kurt Van De Wouwer (B), Unibet, at 14:42

104. Miguel Angel Rubiano (Col), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 14:42

105. Fabien Patanchon (F), Francaise des Jeux, at 14:42

106. Pieter Ghyllebert (B), Chocolade Jacques-T Interim, at 14:42

107. Mathieu Heijboer (Nl), Cofidis, at 14:42

108. Staf Scheirlinckx (B), Cofidis, at 14:42

109. Christian Leben (G), Team Wiesenhof, at 14:42

110. Marc De Maar (Nl), Rabobank, at 14:42

111. Valerio Agnoli (I), Naturino-Sapore Di Mare, at 14:42

112. Nicolas Crosbie (F), Agritubel, at 14:42

113. Evert Verbist (B), Chocolade Jacques-T Interim, at 14:42

114. Andrey Mizourov (Kaz), Capec, at 14:42

115. Artur Gajek (G), Team Wiesenhof, at 14:42

116. David Vitoria (Swi), Phonak, at 14:42

117. Gilles Canouet (F), Agritubel, at 14:42

118. Ryder Hesjedal (Can), Phonak, at 14:42

119. Thomas Fothen (G), Gerolsteiner, at 14:42

120. Gabriele Colombo (I), Naturino-Sapore Di Mare, at 14:42

121. Damien Monier (F), Cofidis, at 14:42

122. Rene Haselbacher (A), Gerolsteiner, at 14:42

123. Galdos Alonso Aitor (Sp), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 14:42

124. Luis Laverde (Col), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 14:42

125. Alexey Lyalko (Kaz), Capec, at 25:35

126. Valeriy Dmitriyev (Kaz), Capec, at 25:35

127. Alexandr Dyachenko (Kaz), Capec, at 25:35

128. Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz), Capec, at 25:35

DNF: Kenny De Haes (B), Chocolade Jacques-T Interim

Overall (after three stages)

1. Tom Boonen (B), Quick Step, 10:02:00

2. Erik Zabel (G), Milram, at 0:12

3. Clerc Aurélien (Swi), Phonak, at 0:18

4. Robert Hunter (RSA), Phonak, at 0:26

5. Matti Breschel (Dk), CSC, at 0:27

6. Steven De Jongh (Nl), Quick Step, at 0:27

7. Nicolas Jalabert (F), Phonak, at 0:29

8. Fabrizio Guidi (I), Phonak, at 0:30

9. Nick Ingels (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 0:30

10. Aart Vierhouten (Nl), Skil-Shimano, at 0:30

11. Fabian Cancellara (Swi), CSC, at 0:30

12. Sebastian Lang (G), Gerolsteiner, at 0:30

13. Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Nl), Skil-Shimano, at 0:32

14. Maarten Tjallingii (Nl), Skil-Shimano, at 0:36

15. Guido Trenti (USA), Quick Step, at 1:01

16. Matteo Tosatto (I), Quick Step, at 1:33

17. Kevin Hulsmans (B), Quick Step, at 1:47

18. Stuart O’Grady (Aus), CSC, at 2:03

19. Marcel Sieberg (G), Team Wiesenhof, at 2:03

20. Leon Van Bon (Nl), Davitamon-Lotto, at 2:03

21. Christophe Detilloux (B), Francaise des Jeux, at 2:03

22. Erik Dekker (Nl), Rabobank, at 2:13

23. Servais Knaven (Nl), Quick Step, at 3:05

24. Enrico Poitschke (G), Milram, at 3:40

25. Sebastian Siedler (G), Milram, at 3:50

26. Luke Roberts (Aus), CSC, at 4:40

27. Wilfried Cretskens (B), Quick Step, at 5:16

28. Martin Pedersen (Dk), CSC, at 8:07

29. Gert Steegmans (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 10:40

30. Koen Barbe (B), Chocolade Jacques-T Interim, at 10:40

31. Bjorn Schroeder (G), Milram, at 10:50

32. Wouter Van Mechelen (B), Chocolade Jacques-T Interim, at 11:33

33. Uros Murn (Slo), Phonak, at 11:45

34. Marcus Ljungqvist (Swe), CSC, at 12:33

35. Paride Grillo (I), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 12:47

36. Rik Reinerink (Nl), Skil-Shimano, at 12:52

37. Robert Forster (G), Gerolsteiner, at 12:53

38. Bernhard Eisel (A), Francaise des Jeux, at 12:53

39. Lilian Jegou (F), Francaise des Jeux, at 12:53

40. Massimiliano Mori (I), Naturino-Sapore Di Mare, at 12:53

41. Peter Wrolich (A), Gerolsteiner, at 12:53

42. Luca Ascani (I), Naturino-Sapore Di Mare, at 12:53

43. Carlos Da Cruz (F), Francaise des Jeux, at 12:53

44. Volker Ordowski (G), Gerolsteiner, at 12:53

45. Finot Frédéric (F), Francaise des Jeux, at 13:03

46. Geert Omloop (B), Unibet, at 13:03

47. Christian Knees (G), Milram, at 13:03

48. Martin Muller (Swi), Milram, at 13:03

49. Murilo Fischer (Bra), Naturino-Sapore Di Mare, at 13:03

50. Kévin Van Impe (B), Quick Step, at 13:32

51. Alexandr Dymovskikh (Kaz), Capec, at 13:34

52. Hans Dekkers (Nl), Agritubel, at 14:29

53. Sven Krauss (G), Gerolsteiner, at 14:51

54. Lars Michaelsen (Dk), CSC, at 14:51

55. Duclos-Lassalle Hervé (F), Cofidis, at 14:54

56. Mikael Delage (F), Francaise des Jeux, at 14:54

57. Gerben Lowik (Nl), Rabobank, at 14:54

58. Carlo Westphal (G), Team Wiesenhof, at 14:54

59. Tristan Valentin (F), Cofidis, at 15:02

60. Weissinger René (G), Skil-Shimano, at 15:04

61. Jan Boven (Nl), Rabobank, at 15:04

62. Frank Hoj (Dk), Gerolsteiner, at 15:04

63. Matteo Priamo (I), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 15:16

64. Bart Vanheule (B), Chocolade Jacques-T Interim, at 16:21

65. Stefan Cohnen (Nl), Naturino-Sapore Di Mare, at 17:12

66. Evert Verbist (B), Chocolade Jacques-T Interim, at 18:22

67. Kasper Klostergaard (Dk), CSC, at 19:33

68. Jukka Vastaranta (Fin), Rabobank, at 19:42

69. David Boucher (F), Unibet, at 19:53

70. Gorik Gardeyn (B), Unibet, at 19:53

71. Cyrille Monnerais (F), Francaise des Jeux, at 19:53

72. Graeme Brown (Aus), Rabobank, at 20:01

73. Sergio Marinangeli (I), Naturino-Sapore Di Mare, at 20:01

74. Tim Klinger (G), Team Wiesenhof, at 20:01

75. Wim De Vocht (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 20:03

76. Moises Aldape Chavez (MEX), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 20:03

77. Christoph Meschenmoser (G), Skil-Shimano, at 20:32

78. Martinez José Alberto (Sp), Agritubel, at 20:58

79. Ben Johnson (Aus), Agritubel, at 21:29

80. Lubor Tesar (Cz), Team Wiesenhof, at 21:54

81. Brett Lancaster (Aus), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 21:54

82. Sébastien Minard (F), Cofidis, at 22:04

83. Thorwald Veneberg (Nl), Rabobank, at 22:04

84. Paul Martens (G), Skil-Shimano, at 22:47

85. Nico Eeckhout (B), Chocolade Jacques-T Interim, at 22:57

86. Jérémy Hunt (GB), Unibet, at 24:45

87. Nico Mattan (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 27:01

88. Camille Bouquet (F), Unibet, at 27:01

89. Aivaras Baranauskas (Lit), Agritubel, at 27:01

90. Jan Kuyckx (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 27:11

91. Benoit Sinner (F), Agritubel, at 27:35

92. David Vitoria (Swi), Phonak, at 27:35

93. Mathieu Heijboer (Nl), Cofidis, at 27:35

94. Maarten Den Bakker (Nl), Milram, at 27:45

95. Marc De Maar (Nl), Rabobank, at 27:45

96. Fabien Patanchon (F), Francaise des Jeux, at 27:58

97. Nicholas Roche (IRL), Cofidis, at 28:37

98. Christopher Horner (USA), Davitamon-Lotto, at 28:44

99. Artur Gajek (G), Team Wiesenhof, at 29:11

100. Arno Wallaard (Nl), Skil-Shimano, at 29:47

101. Andrey Mizourov (Kaz), Capec, at 30:17

102. Ilya Chernyshov (Kaz), Capec, at 30:18

103. Thomas Fothen (G), Gerolsteiner, at 31:12

104. Florian Stalder (Swi), Phonak, at 32:02

105. Felix Odebrecht (G), Team Wiesenhof, at 33:49

106. Galdos Alonso Aitor (Sp), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 34:43

107. Rene Haselbacher (A), Gerolsteiner, at 34:43

108. Damien Monier (F), Cofidis, at 34:43

109. Ryder Hesjedal (Can), Phonak, at 34:43

110. Ralf Grabsch (G), Milram, at 34:53

111. Erwin Thijs (B), Unibet, at 34:54

112. Staf Scheirlinckx (B), Cofidis, at 35:28

113. Pieter Ghyllebert (B), Chocolade Jacques-T Interim, at 35:56

114. Gilles Canouet (F), Agritubel, at 36:19

115. Nicolas Crosbie (F), Agritubel, at 37:18

116. Kurt Van De Wouwer (B), Unibet, at 37:29

117. Miguel Angel Rubiano (Col), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 37:29

118. Luis Laverde (Col), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 37:29

119. Gabriele Colombo (I), Naturino-Sapore Di Mare, at 37:29

120. Alexey Zaitsev (Kaz), Capec, at 42:36

121. Valerio Agnoli (I), Naturino-Sapore Di Mare, at 42:36

122. Martin Mares (Cz), Naturino-Sapore Di Mare, at 42:36

123. Frédéric Gabriel (F), Unibet, at 42:36

124. Christian Leben (G), Team Wiesenhof, at 42:36

125. Alexey Lyalko (Kaz), Capec, at 53:29

126. Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz), Capec, at 53:29

127. Alexandr Dyachenko (Kaz), Capec, at 53:29

128. Valeriy Dmitriyev (Kaz), Capec, at 53:29