Cycling: Boonen enjoys winning return in Qatar
Tuesday 08 February 2011
Triple champion Tom Boonen of Belgium won yesterday's opening stage of the Tour of Qatar, his first major race since undergoing knee surgery following a crash last May.
The Quickstep cyclist finished the 90.4-mile ride from the western city of Dukhan to Al Khor in the north in 2hr 59min 29sec. Heinrich Haussler of Australia and compatriot Mark Renshaw were next in the same time, while Boonen's team-mate Nikolas Maes won the white jersey for the best young rider. It was Boonen's 18th stage win in Qatar, in an event he won in 2006, 2008 and 2009.
Boonen crashed at the Tour of Switzerland and skipped the Tour de France to have an operation in July. He missed most of last season, taking part in only a few minor races towards the end of 2010.
"It took me a long time to get back to this level," Boonen said. "It took a lot of work for me to get fit again. Maybe it was the hardest thing of my career to get back to this level."
After the 1.6-mile prologue on Saturday, Boonen now leads by four seconds over Renshaw and is eight seconds in front of Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland.
Today's second stage is an 84.2-mile trek from the Camel Race Track to Doha Golf Club.
Latest in Sport
Manchester United pre-season tour 2015: Louis van Gaal wins battle to relocate friendly - 60,000 refunded to save on 90-mile trip
Wojciech Szczesny was 'lied to' by Arsene Wenger over future after £11m transfer of Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech
England vs Japan - Women's World Cup semi-final: what time does it start and what channel is it on?
Football kits 2015/16: The good, the bad and the downright worst new shirts from around the world for next season
Manchester United transfer news: Javier Hernandez nears exit as Liverpool eye move for forward despite revealing Real Madrid video
- 1 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 2 David Cameron refers to 83-year-old Labour MP Dennis Skinner as 'Jurassic Park'
- 3 Alton Towers Air breaks down: 80 people stuck on broken down Monorail during heatwave
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Alwaleed bin Talal: Saudi Prince to donate entire $32bn fortune to charity
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you familiar with the sayin...
£6 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care organisation take pride in del...
£6 - £7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care organisation take pride in del...
£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...