Boonen wraps up Qatar win as Cav crashes
Fri, 10 Feb 13:29:00 2012
Boonen, who finished safely in the bunch, claimed his fourth Tour of Qatar title, adding to victories in 2006, 2008 and 2009, while FDJ's Arnaud Demare won the sixth and final stage.
Belgian rider Boonen ended up 28 seconds ahead of American Tyler Farrar in the general classification, with Sky's Juan Antonio Flecha five seconds further back in third place.
"All four wins here have been hard,” he said. “If you win four times it’s 24 days of hard labour. But this was nice because there were a lot of good riders here.
"Two days ago the hard stage we had was really like a classic. Normally after a hard stage you can break it up a bit in the following ones but this year it has been a man to man fight. We controlled the last two stages as a team so I am happy. I think that this year has definitely been a very important one.”
Demare, meanwhile, was thrilled with his victorious sprint to the line.
"I was placed in ideal conditions in the last couple of kilometres with the help of my teammates," Demare said. "It's an amazing feeling. Tom Boonen and Tyler Farrar came to congratulate me. I have admired them in front of my TV for so long."
Cavendish, who had been in a good position to win his third stage of the tour on the route between Sealine Beach Resort and Doha, went down heavily around 200m from the finish line.
Tour of Qatar final stage
Despite the peloton having to find their way around him, however, Cavendish appeared to escape without serious injury.
His Team Sky team-mates waited for him before completing the stage together, while FDJ rider Arnaud Demare, the U23 road race world champion, pounced to take the line first and in the process claim his maiden professional stage victory.
Cavendish, who won sprints on stages three and five, still managed to finish sixth overall.
Cavendish falls in Qatar