The sprinter's fest that is the Tour of Qatar got underway on Sunday, with Belgian Tom Boonen claiming the opening stage for his Omega Pharma-Quickstep team. The former world champion beat youngster Adam Blythe (BMC) and Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) in the sprint.
"This is a race that really suits me because most of the time you arrive at the finish with everyone having done a lot of work, and all the sprinters are tired at the finish, and I'm probably one of the best in the world when everyyone's tired. Today was a real sprint with everyone really fresh. I'm really happy with this win, it shows me that I've been working OK," Boonen said.
World champion Mark Cavendish (Team Sky) was not a factor in the sprint, but the fact that he was even on the start line was encouraging. Cavendish fell ill after his flight to Qatar, but said before the start that he's on the mend.