Boonen wins second Tour of Qatar

The 2006 champion and 2007 runner-up continues his domination of the Gulf race.

    Belgium's Tom Boonen wins the 2008 Tour of Qatar after finishing
    as champion in 2006 and runner-up in 2007 [AFP]

    Belgium's Tom Boonen, Quick Step rider, was crowned champion of the Tour of Qatar on the Gulf state's iconic cornice in Doha.

    The former world champion sprinted home to win the sixth and final stage, a shortened 101km ride in blustery conditions from Al Wakra to Doha, for his second title in Qatar after a first success in 2006.

    It was Boonen's third stage win of the race, after the Belgian also posted a second place in the fourth stage and third in the fifth stage while the Quick Step team won the opening team time-trial.

    In the overall standings, Boonen finished 27 seconds ahead of Dutch team-mate Steven De Jongh with fellow Belgian Greg Van Avermaet a further 13 seconds adrift.

    "I'm very happy," said Boonen, who finished runner-up in last year's Tour of Qatar by two minutes and nine seconds.

    "This Tour of Qatar is really ideal during winter.

    "The good weather (except for Friday), the small time difference, and stages posing no difficulties all help to stretch the legs," said the Belgian, who now has 16 stage wins since his debut in 2004.

    Boonen will now carry on his training for the Spring classics in Europe by competing in the Tour of California.

    "My first big goal will be the Milan-Sanremo," he said, adding he would compete in the Het Volk on March 1.

    "I'm optimistic because when I leave Qatar with good feelings, the races that follow often go well."

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    Al Jazeera examines three weeks of war from which both Arabs and Israelis claimed to emerge victorious.