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Eisel snaps Boonen’s streak in Qatar

Austria's Bernhard Eisel finally ended the winning streak of world champion Tom Boonen when he sprinted to victory in the fourth stage of the Tour of Qatar on Thursday. The Francaise des Jeux rider nicked Germany's Erik Zabel (Milram) and Belgian Boonen (Quick Step) at the line after the 145km run from Al Zubarah to Doha, scoring his first win of the season. Boonen, winner of the first three stages, has been unbeaten since he won his world title in September. He holds the overall race lead going into Friday's 151km final stage between Al Thakira and here with a seven-second

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By Agence France Presse, and staff reports

A furious finish

A furious finish

Photo: Graham Watson

Austria’s Bernhard Eisel finally ended the winning streak of world champion Tom Boonen when he sprinted to victory in the fourth stage of the Tour of Qatar on Thursday.

Once again the bunch breaks up

Once again the bunch breaks up

Photo: Graham Watson

The Francaise des Jeux rider nicked Germany’s Erik Zabel (Milram) and Belgian Boonen (Quick Step) at the line after the 145km run from Al Zubarah to Doha, scoring his first win of the season.

Boonen, winner of the first three stages, has been unbeaten since he won his world title in September. He holds the overall race lead going into Friday’s 151km final stage between Al Thakira and here with a seven-second advantage on Zabel.

Cruising on a Thursday afternoon

Cruising on a Thursday afternoon

Photo: Graham Watson

Once again, the pack quickly split into thirds — this time, after just 2km. Eight kilometers later, however, a number of punctures forced a regrouping.

Zabel took the first intermediate sprint at Madinat al Shamal, 21.5km into the day’s racing, ahead of Aart Vierhouten (Skil-Shimano) and Aurélien Clerc (Phonak); Vierhouten was later unclassified for an irregular sprint.

Veneberg and Fischer were active, too

Veneberg and Fischer were active, too

Photo: Graham Watson

All subsequent escape attempts were foiled until a move from CSC at the 47th kilometer briefly set a group of 24 riders free. The break — which included seven CSC men and the three leading jerseys — held an 18-second lead until being retrieved some 7km later.

Gert Steegmans (Davitamon-Lotto) was next to have a go, at 61km, taking with him Murilo Fischer (Naturino-Sapore Di Mare), Alonso Aitor Galdos (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare), Nico Eeckhout (Chocolade Jacques-T Interim) and Thorwald Veneberg (Rabobank). The five built a maximum gap of more than seven minutes by the feed zone at 80km, before Phonak riders took control of the chase.

Neither was Phonak, which bunched at the front of the pursuit

Neither was Phonak, which bunched at the front of the pursuit

Photo: Graham Watson

Fischer took the second intermediate sprint in Umm Suwaiya, ahead of Galdos and Eeckhout, as the leaders’ gap began dropping. With 20km remaining, the leaders had 3:40 on the pack, led by Quick Step. Fischer and Eeckhout attacked the lead group, but with 5km to go the five were together again and the pack was just 35 seconds behind, ensuring another bunch sprint.

This time, however, the outcome would be different. Despite getting a good sendoff from his Quick Step teammates, Boonen was pipped at the line by both Eisel and Zabel.

But Cancellara, riding next to Boonen, told Eisel the leader was not bulletproof

But Cancellara, riding next to Boonen, told Eisel the leader was not bulletproof

Photo: Graham Watson

“It’s an unbelievable feeling. Just this morning I was saying to Fabian Cancellara (CSC) that Boonen was unbeatable,” said Eisel. “Fabian persuaded me that it wasn’t the case and that I could beat him. He was right.”

Eisel, 25, explained that he had been down the field in 50th position about 2kmfrom the line.

Horner in the bunch, inching up on GC

Horner in the bunch, inching up on GC

Photo: Graham Watson

“I managed to fight back and I noticed during the sprint that Boonen had a problem with his gears. Maybe that explains my win.”

As for Boonen, he said: “You can’t win everything. Eisel had a great sprint.”

Results
Stage

1. Bernhard Eisel (A), Francaise des Jeux, 145km in 3:23:46
2. Erik Zabel (G), Milram, same time
3. Tom Boonen (B), Quick Step, s.t.
4. Fabrizio Guidi (I), Phonak, s.t.
5. Stuart O’Grady (Aus), CSC, s.t.
6. Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Ned), Skil-Shimano, s.t.
7. Sergio Marinangeli (I), Naturino-Sapore Di Mare, s.t.
8. Graeme Brown (Aus), Rabobank, s.t.
9. Christophe Detilloux (B), Francaise des Jeux s.t.
10. Hans Dekkers (Ned), Agriitubel, s.t.

Overall (after four stages)
1. Tom Boonen (B) Quick Step, 13:25:42
2. Erik Zabel (G), Milram, at 0:07
3. Aurelien Clerc (Swi), Phonak, at 0:20
4. Robert Hunter (RSA), Phonak, at 0:30
5. Matti Breschel (Den), CSC, at 0:31
6. Steven de Jongh (Ned), Quick Step, same time
7. Nicolas Jalabert (F), Phonak, at 0:33
8. Fabrizio Guidi (I), Phonak, at 0:34
9. Nick Ingels (B), Davitamon-Lotto, s.t.
10. Aart Vierhouten (Ned), Skil-Shimano, s.t.

Complete results

Photo Gallery

Results

Stage

1. Bernhard Eisel (A), Francaise des Jeux, 145km in 3:23:46

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

3. Tom Boonen (B), Quick Step, s.t.

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

5. Stuart O’Grady (Aus), CSC, s.t.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

14. Gorik Gardeyn (B), Unibet, s.t.

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

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

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

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

19. Aivaras Baranauskas (Lit), Agritubel, s.t.

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

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

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

23. Uros Murn (SLO), Phonak, s.t.

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

25. David Boucher (F), Unibet, s.t.

26. Marc De Maar (Nl), Rabobank, s.t.

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

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

29. Jukka Vastaranta (Fin), Rabobank, s.t.

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

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

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

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

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

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

36. Benoit Sinner (F), Agritubel, s.t.

37. Nico Mattan (B), Davitamon-Lotto, s.t.

38. Sébastien Minard (F), Cofidis, s.t.

39. Christoph Meschenmoser (G), Skil-Shimano, s.t.

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

41. Andrey Mizourov (Kaz), Capec, s.t.

42. Bjorn Schroeder (G), Milram, s.t.

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

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

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

46. David Vitoria (Swi), Phonak, s.t.

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

48. Florian Stalder (Swi), Phonak, s.t.

49. Lars Michaelsen (Dk), CSC, s.t.

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

51. Artur Gajek (G), Team Wiesenhof, s.t.

52. Koen Barbe (B), Chocolade Jacques-T Interim, s.t.

53. Mathieu Heijboer (Nl), Cofidis, s.t.

54. José Alberto Martinez (Sp), Agritubel, s.t.

55. Ryder Hesjedal (Can), Phonak, s.t.

56. Ilya Chernyshov (Kaz), Capec, s.t.

57. Geert Omloop (B), Unibet, at 0:10

58. Guido Trenti (USA), Quick Step, at 0:11

59. Ben Johnson (Aus), Agritubel, at 0:11

60. Christian Knees (G), Milram, at 0:11

61. Maarten Den Bakker (Nl), Milram, at 0:11

62. Wilfried Cretskens (B), Quick Step, at 0:11

63. Wim De Vocht (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 0:11

64. Massimiliano Mori (I), Naturino-Sapore Di Mare, at 0:14

65. Ralf Grabsch (G), Milram, at 0:40

66. Gilles Canouet (F), Agritubel, at 0:40

67. Christopher Horner (USA), Davitamon-Lotto, at 0:40

68. Matteo Tosatto (I), Quick Step, at 0:52

69. Thorwald Veneberg (Nl), Rabobank, at 0:58

70. Stefan Cohnen (Nl), Naturino-Sapore Di Mare, at 0:58

71. Martin Muller (Swi), Milram, at 1:20

72. Kevin Hulsmans (B), Quick Step, at 1:20

73. Servais Knaven (Nl), Quick Step, at 1:22

74. Murilo Fischer (BRA), Naturino-Sapore Di Mare, at 1:22

75. Nico Eeckhout (B), Chocolade Jacques-T Interim, at 1:22

76. Kévin Van Impe (B), Quick Step, at 1:48

77. Galdos Alonso Aitor (Sp), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 2:11

78. Gert Steegmans (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 2:29

79. Thomas Fothen (G), Gerolsteiner, at 4:37

80. Sven Krauss (G), Gerolsteiner, at 4:37

81. Evert Verbist (B), Chocolade Jacques-T Interim, at 4:37

82. Fabien Patanchon (F), Francaise des Jeux, at 4:37

83. Pieter Ghyllebert (B), Chocolade Jacques-T Interim, at 4:37

84. Felix Odebrecht (G), Team Wiesenhof, at 4:37

85. Alexey Lyalko (Kaz), Capec, at 4:37

86. Staf Scheirlinckx (B), Cofidis, at 4:37

87. Alexey Zaitsev (Kaz), Capec, at 4:37

88. Alexandr Dyachenko (Kaz), Capec, at 4:37

89. Marcus Ljungqvist (Swe), CSC, at 4:37

90. Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz), Capec, at 4:37

91. Robert Forster (G), Gerolsteiner, at 4:37

92. Christian Leben (G), Team Wiesenhof, at 4:37

93. Luke Roberts (Aus), CSC, at 4:37

94. Frédéric Gabriel (F), Unibet, at 4:37

95. Valerio Agnoli (I), Naturino-Sapore Di Mare, at 4:37

96. Brett Lancaster (Aus), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 4:37

97. Tim Klinger (G), Team Wiesenhof, at 4:37

98. Martin Mares (Cz), Naturino-Sapore Di Mare, at 4:37

99. Lubor Tesar (Cz), Team Wiesenhof, at 4:37

100. Carlos Da Cruz (F), Francaise des Jeux, at 4:37

101. Frank Hoj (Dk), Gerolsteiner, at 4:37

102. Luis Laverde (Col), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 4:37

103. Aldape Chavez Moises (Mex), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 4:37

104. Mickael Delage (F), Francaise des Jeux, at 4:37

105. Frédéric Finot (F), Francaise des Jeux, at 4:37

106. Lilian Jegou (F), Francaise des Jeux, at 4:37

107. Cyrille Monnerais (F), Francaise des Jeux, at 4:37

108. Arno Wallaard (Nl), Skil-Shimano, at 4:37

109. Bart Vanheule (B), Chocolade Jacques-T Interim, at 4:37

110. René Weissinger (G), Skil-Shimano, at 4:37

111. Paul Martens (G), Skil-Shimano, at 4:37

112. Angel Rubiano Miguel (Col), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 4:37

113. Peter Wrolich (A), Gerolsteiner, at 4:37

114. Nicholas Roche (Irl), Cofidis, at 4:37

115. Martin Pedersen (Dk), CSC, at 4:37

116. Damien Monier (F), Cofidis, at 4:37

117. Kasper Klostergaard (Dk), CSC, at 4:37

118. Camille Bouquet (F), Unibet, at 4:37

119. Nicolas Crosbie (F), Agritubel, at 4:37

120. Jan Kuyckx (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 4:37

121. Erwin Thijs (B), Unibet, at 4:37

122. Kurt Van De Wouwer (B), Unibet, at 4:37

123. Gabriele Colombo (I), Naturino-Sapore Di Mare, at 4:37

124. Matteo Priamo (I), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 4:37

125. Rene Haselbacher (A), Gerolsteiner, at 4:37

126. Jérémy Hunt (GB), Unibet, at 4:37

DNF; Tristan Valentin (F), Cofidis

DNF: Valeriy Dmitriyev (Kaz), Capec

Overall (after four stages)

1. Tom Boonen (B), Quick Step, 13:25:42

2. Erik Zabel (G), Milram, at 0:07

3. Aurélien Clerc (Swi), Phonak, at 0:20

4. Robert Hunter (RSA), Phonak, at 0:30

5. Matti Breschel (Dk), CSC, at 0:31

6. Steven De Jongh (Nl), Quick Step, at 0:31

7. Nicolas Jalabert (F), Phonak, at 0:33

8. Fabrizio Guidi (I), Phonak, at 0:34

9. Nick Ingels (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 0:34

10. Aart Vierhouten (Nl), Skil-Shimano, at 0:34

11. Sebastian Lang (G), Gerolsteiner, at 0:34

12. Fabian Cancellara (Swi), CSC, at 0:34

13. Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Nl), Skil-Shimano, at 0:36

14. Maarten Tjallingii (Nl), Skil-Shimano, at 0:40

15. Guido Trenti (USA), Quick Step, at 1:16

16. Stuart O’Grady (Aus), CSC, at 2:07

17. Marcel Sieberg (G), Team Wiesenhof, at 2:07

18. Christophe Detilloux (B), Francaise des Jeux, at 2:07

19. Leon Van Bon (Nl), Davitamon-Lotto, at 2:07

20. Erik Dekker (Nl), Rabobank, at 2:17

21. Matteo Tosatto (I), Quick Step, at 2:29

22. Kevin Hulsmans (B), Quick Step, at 3:11

23. Enrico Poitschke (G), Milram, at 3:44

24. Sebastian Siedler (G), Milram, at 3:54

25. Servais Knaven (Nl), Quick Step, at 4:31

26. Wilfried Cretskens (B), Quick Step, at 5:31

27. Luke Roberts (Aus), CSC, 09:21

28. Koen Barbe (B), Chocolade Jacques-T Interim, at 10:44

29. Bjorn Schroeder (G), Milram, at 10:54

30. Wouter Van Mechelen (B), Chocolade Jacques-T Interim, at 11:37

31. Uros Murn (SLO), Phonak, at 11:49

32. Bernhard Eisel (A), Francaise des Jeux, at 12:47

33. Martin Pedersen (Dk), CSC, at 12:48

34. Paride Grillo (I), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 12:51

35. Rik Reinerink (Nl), Skil-Shimano, at 12:56

36. Volker Ordowski (G), Gerolsteiner, at 12:57

37. Luca Ascani (I), Naturino-Sapore Di Mare, at 12:57

38. Massimiliano Mori (I), Naturino-Sapore Di Mare, at 13:11

39. Gert Steegmans (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 13:13

40. Geert Omloop (B), Unibet, at 13:17

41. Christian Knees (G), Milram, at 13:18

42. Alexandr Dymovskikh (Kaz), Capec, at 13:38

43. Murilo Fischer (BRA), Naturino-Sapore Di Mare, at 14:26

44. Martin Muller (Swi), Milram, at 14:27

45. Hans Dekkers (Nl), Agritubel, at 14:33

46. Lars Michaelsen (Dk), CSC, at 14:55

47. Hervé Duclos-Lassalle (F), Cofidis, at 14:58

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

49. Gerben Lowik (Nl), Rabobank, at 14:58

50. Jan Boven (Nl), Rabobank, at 15:08

51. Kévin Van Impe (B), Quick Step, at 15:24

52. Marcus Ljungqvist (Swe), CSC, at 17:14

53. Robert Forster (G), Gerolsteiner, at 17:34

54. Lilian Jegou (F), Francaise des Jeux, at 17:34

55. Carlos Da Cruz (F), Francaise des Jeux, at 17:34

56. Peter Wrolich (A), Gerolsteiner, at 17:34

57. Frédéric Finot (F), Francaise des Jeux, at 17:44

58. Stefan Cohnen (Nl), Naturino-Sapore Di Mare, at 18:14

59. Sven Krauss (G), Gerolsteiner, at 19:32

60. Mickael Delage (F), Francaise des Jeux, at 19:35

61. René Weissinger (G), Skil-Shimano, at 19:45

62. Frank Hoj (Dk), Gerolsteiner, at 19:45

63. Jukka Vastaranta (Fin), Rabobank, at 19:46

64. David Boucher (F), Unibet, at 19:57

65. Gorik Gardeyn (B), Unibet, at 19:57

66. Matteo Priamo (I), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 19:57

67. Graeme Brown (Aus), Rabobank, at 20:05

68. Sergio Marinangeli (I), Naturino-Sapore Di Mare, at 20:05

69. Wim De Vocht (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 20:18

70. Christoph Meschenmoser (G), Skil-Shimano, at 20:36

71. José Alberto Martinez (Sp), Agritubel, at 21:02

72. Bart Vanheule (B), Chocolade Jacques-T Interim, at 21:02

73. Ben Johnson (Aus), Agritubel, at 21:44

74. Sébastien Minard (F), Cofidis, at 22:08

75. Evert Verbist (B), Chocolade Jacques-T Interim, at 23:03

76. Thorwald Veneberg (Nl), Rabobank, at 23:06

77. Kasper Klostergaard (Dk), CSC, at 24:14

78. Nico Eeckhout (B), Chocolade Jacques-T Interim, at 24:22

79. Cyrille Monnerais (F), Francaise des Jeux, at 24:34

80. Tim Klinger (G), Team Wiesenhof, at 24:42

81. Aldape Chavez Moises (Mex), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 24:44

82. Lubor Tesar (Cz), Team Wiesenhof, at 26:35

83. Brett Lancaster (Aus), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 26:35

84. Nico Mattan (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 27:05

85. Aivaras Baranauskas (Lit), Agritubel, at 27:05

86. Paul Martens (G), Skil-Shimano, at 27:28

87. Benoit Sinner (F), Agritubel, at 27:39

88. David Vitoria (Swi), Phonak, at 27:39

89. Mathieu Heijboer (Nl), Cofidis, at 27:39

90. Marc De Maar (Nl), Rabobank, at 27:49

91. Maarten Den Bakker (Nl), Milram, at 28:00

92. Artur Gajek (G), Team Wiesenhof, at 29:15

93. Jérémy Hunt (GB), Unibet, at 29:26

94. Christopher Horner (USA), Davitamon-Lotto, at 29:28

95. Andrey Mizourov (Kaz), Capec, at 30:21

96. Ilya Chernyshov (Kaz), Capec, at 30:22

97. Camille Bouquet (F), Unibet, at 31:42

98. Jan Kuyckx (B), Davitamon-Lotto, at 31:52

99. Florian Stalder (Swi), Phonak, at 32:06

100. Fabien Patanchon (F), Francaise des Jeux, at 32:39

101. Nicholas Roche (Irl), Cofidis, at 33:18

102. Arno Wallaard (Nl), Skil-Shimano, at 34:28

103. Ryder Hesjedal (Can), Phonak, at 34:47

104. Ralf Grabsch (G), Milram, at 35:37

105. Thomas Fothen (G), Gerolsteiner, at 35:53

106. Galdos Alonso Aitor (Sp), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 36:56

107. Gilles Canouet (F), Agritubel, at 37:03

108. Felix Odebrecht (G), Team Wiesenhof, at 38:30

109. Rene Haselbacher (A), Gerolsteiner, at 39:24

110. Damien Monier (F), Cofidis, at 39:24

111. Erwin Thijs (B), Unibet, at 39:35

112. Staf Scheirlinckx (B), Cofidis, at 40:09

113. Pieter Ghyllebert (B), Chocolade Jacques-T Interim, at 40:37

114. Nicolas Crosbie (F), Agritubel, at 41:59

115. Kurt Van De Wouwer (B), Unibet, at 42:10

116. Angel Rubiano Miguel (Col), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 42:10

117. Luis Laverde (Col), Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, at 42:10

118. Gabriele Colombo (I), Naturino-Sapore Di Mare, at 42:10

119. Alexey Zaitsev (Kaz), Capec, at 47:17

120. Valerio Agnoli (I), Naturino-Sapore Di Mare, at 47:17

121. Christian Leben (G), Team Wiesenhof, at 47:17

122. Frédéric Gabriel (F), Unibet, at 47:17

123. Martin Mares (Cz), Naturino-Sapore Di Mare, at 47:17

124. Alexey Lyalko (Kaz), Capec, at 58:10

125. Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz), Capec, at 58:10

126. Alexandr Dyachenko (Kaz), Capec, at 58:10