(Photo Gallery Below)
By Andrew Hood
Tom Boonen made it two in a row at the Tour of Qatar on Tuesday, out-sprinting Fabrizio Guidi (CSC) and Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) to claim his second straight win on the 2005 season.
The 24-year-old Quick Step star was part of a 21-man breakaway that tore away from the main bunch at 90km into the 167.5km course from the Camel Track to the Qatar Olympic Committee headquarters.
Six Quick Step riders were in the decisive 21-man group, including Kevin Hulsmans, Servais Knaven, Nick Nuyens, Guido Trenti and Wilfried Cretskens and Boonen. The group held a 40-second gap on the main bunch coming for the sprint.
Boonen said he misjudged the finish, but was still strong enough to hold on for the win. American Fred Rodriguez, making his season debut with Davitamon-Lotto, came through seventh on the day.
“There was fantastic team work today,” Boonen said after the podium. “This win is thanks to my teammates. I even made an evaluation error during the final sprint and I made my move at the 300-meter point, but I was actually convinced that there were only 200 meters to the finish line. Thankfully I was able to keep up the speed and rhythm right up to crossing the finish line.”
With the stage win, Boonen takes a 14-second lead on Robert Hunter (Rabobank) and Guidi.
“I’m not thinking about the classifications though,” Boonen said. “I want to take it day by day and just see what happens.”
Tour of Qatar, Stage 2, Camel Track to the Qatar Olympic Committee, 167.5km
1. Tom Boonen (Bel), Quick Step 3 hours, 59 minutes, 52 seconds
2. Fabrizio Guidi (I), CSC
3. Robbie McEwen (Aus), Davitamon-Lotto
4. Robert Hunter (RSA), Phonak
5. Loyd Mondory (F), Ag2r – all same time
7. Fred Rodriguez (USA), Davitamon-Lotto