Boonen wins Tour of Qatar

Tom Boonen won the Tour of Qatar for the fourth time

DOHA (AFP) — Belgium’s Tom Boonen, riding for Omega Pharma-Quick Step, won the Tour of Qatar for the fourth time on Friday. Frenchman Arnaud Demare of FDJ negotiated a sprint finish to land the sixth and final stage.

Boonen, who also won the race in 2006, 2008 and 2009, timed an overall 15:42:14 to give him a 28 second advantage over US racer Tyler Farrar of Garmin. Spaniard Juan Antonio Flecha of Team Sky came in third at 33 seconds.

A beaming Boonen said: “This augurs well for the rest of the season — I arrived in Qatar in fine fettle. I’m really on the right track to have a good classics campaign.”

The former world champion now heads for the Tour of Oman, starting Tuesday.

Demare meanwhile held off Russian Denis Galimzyanov and Australian Mark Renshaw as he crossed the line in 2:20:44 following the 120.5 km stage from Sealine Beach Resort to Doha Corniche which brought the final
curtain down.

Demare, under-23 level champion last season, won his first pro race stage as the 20-year-old came through in a tight final mass sprint which saw Mark Cavendish fall.

“My teammates, notably Yoann (Offredo) and Mickael (Delage), placed me in ideal conditions in the final couple of kilometers — my legs were flying,” said a delighted Demare. “Tom Boonen and Tyler Farrar came to congratulate me — it’s an extraordinary feeling. These are riders I admired from watching them on television.”