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Tour of Qatar: Final Report. Chicchi Takes Stage but Mol Carries Early Advantage to Win GC

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Wouter-Mol-WinsWouter Mol of Dutch team VacanSoleil has won the Tour of Qatar thanks to a decisive break in stage two in which he, alongside Gert Steurs of Topsport-Vlaanderen, stole around two minutes from the more favoured riders and bigger teams.

In the final stage he avoided any slip-ups and stayed upright, finishing in the pack to claim a deserved win, while the stage was stolen by Francesco Chicchi, with an audacious sprint from a long way back. The 29-year-old’s second stage win at the Tour of Qatar will give Liquigas, who were fairly anonymous last season, an early boost and raise expectations of the Italians for the coming months.

Tom Boonen, who was chasing his third consecutive victory in the Tour of Qatar, left disappointed, in third place overall behind Steurs. The Belgian national champion will have to set his sights on the Spring Classics – for which he looks in ominously good form. Quick Step, too, have been on point in looking after Torpedo Tom, though in today’s bunch sprint Boonen lit the blue touch-paper too early, and flagged before the line to take seventh place in the stage.

Among the host of people who passed him at the end of the 123.5km course, seven times round a crescent-shaped circuit on the bay in Doha, were Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions), who finished in second place, and Juan Jose Haedo (Saxo Bank) in third. Team Sky’s Edvard Boasson Hagen was sixth, though the team had looked serious in their attempt to top and tail the Tour – as they had Down Under – with wins. The novice team can take away  valuable race experience and the knowledge that their riders are gelling and working together. Nobody could deny that Chicchi deserved the win, however, as he powered his way through the smallest of gaps along the barricades on the outside, mugging all those in front of him .

What else is there to take from the fascinating, slightly bonkers windy sprint-fest that was the Tour of Qatar 2010?

Taylor Phinney is one to watch on the Radioshack-feeder Trek Livestrong team. He finished in the top 10 on several stages, and has a bright future. The ‘best young rider vest’, however, was won by Milram’s Roger Kluge, who finished fourth overall. BMC mixed it up, rode aggressively and put on a good show; with their star man Cadel Evans looking good in the Tour Down Under, they, too have set a marker for the season.

On a less positive note, punctures galore and at least five broken collarbones prove the windy desert is not the roadie’s natural home. Milram, in particular, will mourn injury to Gerald Ciolek, who was felled at the end of stage three. Nevertheless, this year’s Tour of Qatar provided a compelling spectacle. Final standings can be found here.

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14 years ago

It´s a DUTCH team.

Good work Wouter!

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