Cavendish roars to victory at Al Khor Corniche

Boonen retains overall lead in Qatar

Great Britain’s Mark Cavendish (Team Sky) sprinted to victory in the penultimate stage of the 2012 Tour of Qatar on Thursday, using his positional instincts and the help of his teammates to make a decisive dash for the line in a crowded bunch finish.

It was Cavendish’s second victory this week, having won stage three on Tuesday, and it more than made up for the disappointment of yesterday when he trailed home in 31st place. Seven of the remaining nine top 10 spots were taken by young riders, with Liquigas-Canondale duo Daniel Oss and Peter Sagan claiming the remaining podium spots.

Cavendish moves up to seventh in the GC with one stage to go but remains more than a minute adrift of Belgium’s Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), who retained the golden jersey by a margin of 31 seconds from Garmin-Barracuda’s Taylor Farrar despite his worst finish (13th) of the week.

“I’m really happy to have won," Cavendish said. "It’s my second stage win here this week, and my team did a great job protecting me and keeping me up there for the final push. It’s a strong team that wants to do well, wants to win the sprints and the classics. It’s a team that can ride well in the wind and in the final, so it’s really good for us.”

After two wins and two second places in the four previous stages, Boonen was upstaged today but stayed close enough to consolidate his GC lead over Farrar, who was one place behind the Belgian in 14th place.

“I told the guys today that we could control the stage as a team,” Boonen said. “Over the last few days we have really been helped by Garmin and so we hadn’t expended too much energy. Today I wanted to be really comfortable at the head of the peloton.

“Everybody was very fresh in the final so it made for a very hectic finish. This finish line has been good to me and it has been bad to me in the past. There are seven kinks, and you have to be in the correct position. I was almost getting to the front but got blocked on the left side. But the most important thing for today was to consolidate the golden jersey for tomorrow and preserve the good work we have done this week.”

Stage five started just after noon at the Camel Race Track in the arid and dusty interior of the country, and the riders were greeted by dozens of camels as they made their last minute preparations. Aided by a tailwind, the riders sped through more than 52kms in the first hour of racing. A breakaway group of five riders opened up a sizable gap of 2:40 approaching the first intermediate sprint, which was won by Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Katusha) ahead of Thomas Bertolini (Farense Vini-Selle Italia) and Maciej Bodnar (Liquigas-Canondale).

The five riders were still clear at the second sprint, which came at the 124km mark and was won by RadioShack Nissan’s Robert Wagner. In the last 10 kilometres, the peloton closed together and the stage was set for a bunch sprint at the end of the 160km stage, which is the longest of the race.

Boonen moved to the inside menacingly but found his momentum checked at a critical stage, and as all eyes were focussed on the race leader Cavendish, who swept clear 200 metres from the finish and held his arms aloft triumphantly in his trademark celebration.

The stage was marred by several crashes, the worst of which came just before the riders turned onto north road. It resulted in a broken collarbone for Filippo Pozzato (Farense Vini-Selle Italia) as several other riders, including Thor Hushovd (BMC), ended up on the tarmac.

“The last few kilometres were very hectic and everyone was nervous,” Cavendish said. “There was a bit of wind but not enough to break us up so there was a big peloton left at the finish and everybody fancied their chances. It was very chaotic, and there were a few crashes and I hope that nobody is hurt from them."

The 11th Tour of Qatar concludes tomorrow after the 120km sixth stage from the Sealine Beach Resort to the Doha Corniche. It appears that only a crash, and injury or a major mechanical failure can stop Boonen from securing a fourth win in the GC. But the best young rider's jersey is still very much up for grabs, with just five seconds separating current holder Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Barracuda) and Adam Blythe (BMC).

Full Results
1Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky Procycling3:30:40 
2Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
3Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale  
4John Degenkolb (Ger) Project 1t4i  
5Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Katusha  
6Allan Davis (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team  
7Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ-BigMat  
8Andrea Guardini (Ita) Farnese Vini-Selle Italia  
9Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Katusha  
10Gregory Henderson (NZl) Lotto Belisol Team  
11Mark Renshaw (Aus) Rabobank  
12Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Belisol Team  
13Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep  
14Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Barracuda  
15Aaron Kemps (Aus) Champion System  
16Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha  
17Gregory Rast (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan  
18Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Barracuda  
19Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan  
20Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) GreenEdge Cycling Team  
21Roy Curvers (Ned) Project 1t4i  
22Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack-Nissan  
23Tom Veelers (Ned) Project 1t4i  
24Adam Blythe (GBr) BMC Racing Team  
25Albert Timmer (Ned) Project 1t4i  
26Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan  
27Jens Mouris (Ned) GreenEdge Cycling Team  
28Dominique Rollin (Can) FDJ-BigMat  
29Mehdi Sohrabi (IRI) Lotto Belisol Team  
30Mickaël Delage (Fra) FDJ-BigMat  
31Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) FDJ-BigMat  
32Baden Cooke (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team  
33Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) GreenEdge Cycling Team  
34Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Procycling  
35Gert Steegmans (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step  
36Christian Benenati (Ita) Farnese Vini-Selle Italia  
37David Boucher (Fra) FDJ-BigMat  
38Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
39Yoann Offredo (Fra) FDJ-BigMat  
40Matthias Friedemann (Ger) Champion System  
41Johan Vansummeren (Bel) Garmin-Barracuda  
42Koen De Kort (Ned) Project 1t4i  
43Davide Appollonio (Ita) Sky Procycling  
44Mauro Da Dalto (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
45Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha  
46Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Sky Procycling  
47Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team  
48Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
49David McCann (Irl) RTS Racing Team  
50Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
51Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
52Gabriel Rasch (Nor) FDJ-BigMat  
53Mikhail Ignatyev (Rus) Katusha  
54Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Farnese Vini-Selle Italia  
55Klaas Lodewijck (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
56Frederik Willems (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team  
57Luca Ascani (Ita) Farnese Vini-Selle Italia  
58Robert Hunter (RSA) Garmin-Barracuda  
59Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step  
60Markel Irizar (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan  
61Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
62Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Sky Procycling  
63Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team  
64Wei Kei Chang (Tpe) RTS Racing Team  
65Lars Bak (Den) Lotto Belisol Team  
66Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
67Svein Tuft (Can) GreenEdge Cycling Team  
68Joss Van Emden (Ned) Rabobank  
69Alan Marangoni (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
70Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
71Kazuo Inoue (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor  
72Mart Ojavee (Est) Champion System  
73Roger Kluge (Ger) Project 1t4i  
74Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) RadioShack-Nissan  
75Pier Paolo De Negri (Ita) Farnese Vini-Selle Italia  
76Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Belisol Team  
77Vladimir Isaychev (Rus) Katusha  
78Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step  
79Murilo Antoniobil Fischer (Bra) Garmin-Barracuda  
80Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step  
81Christian Knees (Ger) Sky Procycling0:00:15 
82Maarten Wynants (Bel) Rabobank0:00:18 
83Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ-BigMat0:00:22 
84Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Project 1t4i0:00:25 
85Jacob Rathe (USA) Garmin-Barracuda0:00:27 
86Gang Xu (Chn) Champion System0:00:29 
87Matt Brammeier (Irl) Omega Pharma-Quick Step0:00:33 
88Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin-Barracuda  
89Thomas Leezer (Ned) Rabobank  
90Jérémy Hunt (GBr) Sky Procycling  
91Robbie McEwen (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team0:00:37 
92Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank  
93Thomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin-Barracuda  
94Diego Caccia (Ita) Farnese Vini-Selle Italia0:00:39 
95Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team0:01:01 
96Alexandre Lemair (Fra) Bridgestone Anchor0:01:30 
97Thomas Lebas (Fra) Bridgestone Anchor  
98Miyataka Shimizu (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor  
99Joost Posthuma (Ned) RadioShack-Nissan  
100Hayato Yoshida (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor  
101Lee Rodgers (GBr) RTS Racing Team  
102Pengda Jiao (Chn) Champion System  
103Jai Crawford (Aus) RTS Racing Team  
104Alex Coutts (GBr) RTS Racing Team  
105Klaas Sys (Bel) Bridgestone Anchor  
106Chin-Lung Huang (Tpe) RTS Racing Team  
107Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Rabobank0:01:52 
108Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank  
109Frantisek Rabon (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quick Step0:01:58 
110Ryota Nishizono (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor0:02:58 
111Thomas Bertolini (Ita) Farnese Vini-Selle Italia0:03:05 
112Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team  
113Dominic Klemme (Ger) Project 1t4i0:04:19 
114Robert Wagner (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan  
115Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Blr) Katusha  
116Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale  
117Sergey Kudentsov (Rus) RTS Racing Team  
118Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) GreenEdge Cycling Team  
119Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Katusha0:05:33 
DNSFrancesco Chicchi (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quick Step  
DNSGorik Gardeyn (Bel) Champion System  
DNFFilippo Pozzato (Ita) Farnese Vini-Selle Italia  
DNFBlaise Sonnery (Fra) Bridgestone Anchor  
Sprint 1 - Umm Al Qahab, 37km
1Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Blr) Katusha3pts
2Thomas Bertolini (Ita) Farnese Vini-Selle Italia2 
3Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale1 
Sprint 2 - Umm Thenaitain Farm, 124km
1Robert Wagner (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan3pts
2Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Blr) Katusha2 
3Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale1 
Points - Al Khor Corniche, 160km
1Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky Procycling15pts
2Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale12 
3Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale9 
4John Degenkolb (Ger) Project 1t4i7 
5Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Katusha6 
6Allan Davis (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team5 
7Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ-BigMat4 
8Andrea Guardini (Ita) Farnese Vini-Selle Italia3 
9Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Katusha2 
10Gregory Henderson (NZl) Lotto Belisol Team1 
Young riders
1Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale3:30:40 
2Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale  
3John Degenkolb (Ger) Project 1t4i  
4Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Katusha  
5Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ-BigMat  
6Andrea Guardini (Ita) Farnese Vini-Selle Italia  
7Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Katusha  
8Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha  
9Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Barracuda  
10Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan  
11Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack-Nissan  
12Adam Blythe (GBr) BMC Racing Team  
13Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) FDJ-BigMat  
14Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Procycling  
15Davide Appollonio (Ita) Sky Procycling  
16Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha  
17Klaas Lodewijck (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
18Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step  
19Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Project 1t4i0:00:25 
20Jacob Rathe (USA) Garmin-Barracuda0:00:27 
21Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team0:01:01 
22Alexandre Lemair (Fra) Bridgestone Anchor0:01:30 
23Hayato Yoshida (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor  
24Chin-Lung Huang (Tpe) RTS Racing Team  
25Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Rabobank0:01:52 
26Ryota Nishizono (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor0:02:58 
27Thomas Bertolini (Ita) Farnese Vini-Selle Italia0:03:05 
28Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team  
29Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Katusha0:05:33 
Teams
1Katusha Team10:32:00 
2Liquigas-Cannondale  
3Project 1t4i  
4Lotto-Belisol Team  
5GreenEdge Cycling Team  
6RadioShack-Nissan  
7FDJ-Bigmat  
8Garmin - Barracuda  
9Sky Procycling  
10Farnese Vini-Selle Italia  
11Omega Pharma-Quick Step  
12BMC Racing Team  
13Champion System  
14RTS Racing Team  
15Rabobank Cycling Team0:00:18 
16Bridgestone Anchor0:03:00 
General classification after stage 5
1Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep13:21:30 
2Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Barracuda0:00:31 
3Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Sky Procycling0:00:34 
4Gert Steegmans (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step0:00:36 
5Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Sky Procycling0:00:45 
6Tom Veelers (Ned) Project 1t4i0:01:00 
7Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky Procycling0:01:05 
8Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan0:01:06 
9Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Barracuda0:01:09 
10Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) GreenEdge Cycling Team0:01:10 
11Adam Blythe (GBr) BMC Racing Team0:01:14 
12Johan Vansummeren (Bel) Garmin-Barracuda0:01:19 
13Baden Cooke (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team0:01:20 
14Mark Renshaw (Aus) Rabobank0:01:32 
15Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack-Nissan0:01:33 
16John Degenkolb (Ger) Project 1t4i0:01:40 
17Frederik Willems (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team0:01:45 
18Thomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin-Barracuda0:01:56 
19Mikhail Ignatyev (Rus) Katusha0:02:15 
20Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Katusha0:02:16 
21Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step0:02:17 
22Matthias Friedemann (Ger) Champion System0:02:19 
23Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:02:23 
24Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Project 1t4i0:02:27 
25Yoann Offredo (Fra) FDJ-BigMat0:02:28 
26David Boucher (Fra) FDJ-BigMat0:02:30 
27Maarten Wynants (Bel) Rabobank0:02:45 
28Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Procycling0:02:47 
29Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale0:02:52 
30Svein Tuft (Can) GreenEdge Cycling Team0:02:55 
31Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan0:02:59 
32Klaas Lodewijck (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:03:01 
33Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Belisol Team0:03:02 
34Gregory Henderson (NZl) Lotto Belisol Team  
35Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ-BigMat0:03:08 
36Dominique Rollin (Can) FDJ-BigMat  
37Koen De Kort (Ned) Project 1t4i0:03:09 
38Albert Timmer (Ned) Project 1t4i0:03:20 
39Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step0:03:27 
40Robert Hunter (RSA) Garmin-Barracuda0:03:29 
41Murilo Antoniobil Fischer (Bra) Garmin-Barracuda0:03:36 
42Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale0:03:41 
43Davide Appollonio (Ita) Sky Procycling0:03:43 
44Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha  
45Thomas Leezer (Ned) Rabobank0:03:44 
46Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha0:03:45 
47Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale0:03:49 
48Alan Marangoni (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
49Lars Bak (Den) Lotto Belisol Team0:03:50 
50Markel Irizar (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan  
51Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) GreenEdge Cycling Team0:03:52 
52Jens Mouris (Ned) GreenEdge Cycling Team  
53Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
54Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:03:53 
55Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
56Robbie McEwen (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team0:03:56 
57Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) FDJ-BigMat0:03:59 
58Gabriel Rasch (Nor) FDJ-BigMat  
59Christian Knees (Ger) Sky Procycling0:04:00 
60Allan Davis (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team0:04:05 
61Andrea Guardini (Ita) Farnese Vini-Selle Italia0:04:07 
62Mehdi Sohrabi (IRI) Lotto Belisol Team0:04:14 
63Matt Brammeier (Irl) Omega Pharma-Quick Step0:04:16 
64Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ-BigMat0:04:21 
65Roger Kluge (Ger) Project 1t4i  
66Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank0:04:26 
67Pier Paolo De Negri (Ita) Farnese Vini-Selle Italia0:04:30 
68Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank  
69Mauro Da Dalto (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale0:04:33 
70Aaron Kemps (Aus) Champion System0:04:39 
71Joss Van Emden (Ned) Rabobank  
72Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale0:04:44 
73Diego Caccia (Ita) Farnese Vini-Selle Italia0:04:46 
74Mickaël Delage (Fra) FDJ-BigMat0:04:49 
75Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin-Barracuda0:04:53 
76Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Farnese Vini-Selle Italia0:04:54 
77Jacob Rathe (USA) Garmin-Barracuda0:05:03 
78Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team0:05:05 
79Vladimir Isaychev (Rus) Katusha  
80David McCann (Irl) RTS Racing Team0:05:10 
81Roy Curvers (Ned) Project 1t4i0:05:22 
82Gregory Rast (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan0:05:28 
83Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step0:05:44 
84Jérémy Hunt (GBr) Sky Procycling0:05:56 
85Thomas Lebas (Fra) Bridgestone Anchor0:06:17 
86Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Blr) Katusha0:06:33 
87Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Katusha0:06:42 
88Luca Ascani (Ita) Farnese Vini-Selle Italia0:06:48 
89Joost Posthuma (Ned) RadioShack-Nissan0:06:59 
90Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) GreenEdge Cycling Team0:07:14 
91Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Belisol Team0:07:17 
92Thomas Bertolini (Ita) Farnese Vini-Selle Italia0:07:31 
93Mart Ojavee (Est) Champion System0:08:12 
94Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team0:08:30 
95Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale0:08:42 
96Alexandre Lemair (Fra) Bridgestone Anchor0:09:50 
97Miyataka Shimizu (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor0:11:08 
98Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) RadioShack-Nissan0:11:37 
99Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team0:12:29 
100Christian Benenati (Ita) Farnese Vini-Selle Italia0:12:33 
101Robert Wagner (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan0:12:45 
102Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale0:12:59 
103Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team0:13:20 
104Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Katusha0:14:11 
105Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Rabobank0:15:13 
106Dominic Klemme (Ger) Project 1t4i0:16:02 
107Jai Crawford (Aus) RTS Racing Team0:16:08 
108Klaas Sys (Bel) Bridgestone Anchor0:17:40 
109Kazuo Inoue (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor0:20:26 
110Lee Rodgers (GBr) RTS Racing Team0:20:58 
111Alex Coutts (GBr) RTS Racing Team0:21:01 
112Frantisek Rabon (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quick Step0:21:20 
113Hayato Yoshida (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor0:22:27 
114Pengda Jiao (Chn) Champion System0:23:30 
115Ryota Nishizono (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor0:25:00 
116Gang Xu (Chn) Champion System0:25:12 
117Chin-Lung Huang (Tpe) RTS Racing Team0:29:35 
118Wei Kei Chang (Tpe) RTS Racing Team0:40:13 
119Sergey Kudentsov (Rus) RTS Racing Team0:44:47 
Points classification
1Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep45pts
2Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky Procycling30 
3Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Barracuda19 
4Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale18 
5Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale18 
6Mark Renshaw (Aus) Rabobank13 
7John Degenkolb (Ger) Project 1t4i13 
8Tom Veelers (Ned) Project 1t4i12 
9Adam Blythe (GBr) BMC Racing Team12 
10Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) GreenEdge Cycling Team10 
11Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Katusha10 
12Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan9 
13Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Sky Procycling7 
14Mehdi Sohrabi (IRI) Lotto Belisol Team6 
15Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Blr) Katusha6 
16Robert Wagner (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan6 
17Gert Steegmans (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step6 
18Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step6 
19Davide Appollonio (Ita) Sky Procycling5 
20Allan Davis (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team5 
21Mikhail Ignatyev (Rus) Katusha4 
22Yoann Offredo (Fra) FDJ-BigMat4 
23Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ-BigMat4 
24Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha4 
25Lars Bak (Den) Lotto Belisol Team3 
26Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Belisol Team3 
27Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Sky Procycling3 
28David Boucher (Fra) FDJ-BigMat3 
29Andrea Guardini (Ita) Farnese Vini-Selle Italia3 
30Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha2 
31Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team2 
32Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Katusha2 
33Thomas Bertolini (Ita) Farnese Vini-Selle Italia2 
34Miyataka Shimizu (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor2 
35Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale2 
36Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Procycling1 
37Gregory Henderson (NZl) Lotto Belisol Team1 
38Robert Hunter (RSA) Garmin-Barracuda1 
39Mart Ojavee (Est) Champion System1 
40Alexandre Lemair (Fra) Bridgestone Anchor1 
41Christian Benenati (Ita) Farnese Vini-Selle Italia-5 
Young rider classification
1Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Barracuda13:22:39 
2Adam Blythe (GBr) BMC Racing Team0:00:05 
3Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack-Nissan0:00:24 
4John Degenkolb (Ger) Project 1t4i0:00:31 
5Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Katusha0:01:07 
6Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step0:01:08 
7Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Project 1t4i0:01:18 
8Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Procycling0:01:38 
9Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale0:01:43 
10Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan0:01:50 
11Klaas Lodewijck (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:01:52 
12Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ-BigMat0:01:59 
13Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale0:02:32 
14Davide Appollonio (Ita) Sky Procycling0:02:34 
15Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha  
16Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha0:02:36 
17Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) FDJ-BigMat0:02:50 
18Andrea Guardini (Ita) Farnese Vini-Selle Italia0:02:58 
19Jacob Rathe (USA) Garmin-Barracuda0:03:54 
20Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Katusha0:05:33 
21Thomas Bertolini (Ita) Farnese Vini-Selle Italia0:06:22 
22Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team0:07:21 
23Alexandre Lemair (Fra) Bridgestone Anchor0:08:41 
24Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team0:11:20 
25Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Katusha0:13:02 
26Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Rabobank0:14:04 
27Hayato Yoshida (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor0:21:18 
28Ryota Nishizono (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor0:23:51 
29Chin-Lung Huang (Tpe) RTS Racing Team0:28:26 
Teams classification
1Omega Pharma-Quick Step39:40:48 
2Sky Procycling0:00:34 
3Garmin - Barracuda0:01:23 
4Project 1t4i0:02:10 
5RadioShack-Nissan0:02:11 
6GreenEdge Cycling Team0:02:33 
7Lotto-Belisol Team0:02:37 
8BMC Racing Team0:03:47 
9Rabobank Cycling Team0:04:02 
10FDJ-Bigmat0:04:55 
11Katusha Team0:04:59 
12Champion System0:06:38 
13Liquigas-Cannondale0:08:36 
14Farnese Vini-Selle Italia0:08:54 
15Bridgestone Anchor0:16:59 
16RTS Racing Team0:34:34 

Great Britain’s Mark Cavendish (Team Sky) sprinted to victory in the penultimate stage of the 2012 Tour of Qatar on Thursday, using his positional instincts and the help of his teammates to make a decisive dash for the line in a crowded bunch finish.

It was Cavendish’s second victory this week, having tasted victory in stage two on Tuesday, and it more than made up for the disappointment of yesterday when he trailed home in 31st place. Seven of the remaining nine top ten spots were taken by young riders, with Liquigas-Canondale duo Daniel Oss (ITA) and Peter Sagan (SVK) claiming the remaining podium spots.

Cavendish moves up to seventh in the GC with one stage to go but remains more than a minute adrift of Belgium’s Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), who retained the golden jersey by a margin of 31 seconds from Garmin-Barracuda’s Taylor Farrar despite his worst finish (13th) of the week.

Stage five started just after noon at the Camel Race Track in the arid and dusty interior of the country, and the riders were greeted by dozens of camels as they made their last minute preparations. Aided by a tailwind, the riders scorched through more than 52kms in the first hour of racing. A breakaway group of five riders opened up a sizeable gap of 2:40 approaching the first intermediate sprint, which was won by Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Katusha) ahead of Thomas Bertolini (Farense Vini-Selle Italia) and Maciej Bodnar (Liquigas-Canondale).

The five riders were still clear at the second sprint, which came at the 124km mark and was won by RadioShack Nissan’s Robert Wagner. In the last ten kilometres the peloton closed together and the stage was set for a bunch sprint at the end of the 160km stage, which is the longest of the race. Boonen moved to the inside menacingly but found his momentum checked at a critical stage, and as all eyes were focussed on the race leader Cavendish swept clear 200 metres from the finish and held his arms aloft triumphantly in his trademark celebration.

“The last few kilometres were very hectic and everyone was nervous,” Cavendish said. “There was a bit of wind but not enough to break us up so there was a big peloton left at the finish and everybody fancied their chances. It was very chaotic and there were a few crashes and I hope that nobody is hurt from them.

“I’m really happy to have won. It’s my second stage win here this week and my team did a great job protecting me and keeping me up there for the final push. It’s a strong team that wants to do well, wants to win the sprints and the classics. It’s a team that can ride well in the wind and in the final, so it’s really good for us.”

After two wins and two second places in the four previous stages, Boonen was upstaged today but stayed close enough to consolidate his GC lead over Farrar, who was one place behind the Belgian in 14th place.

“I told the guys today that we could control the stage as a team,” Boonen said. “Over the last few days we have really been helped by Garmin and so we hadn’t expended too much energy so today I wanted to be really comfortable at the head of the peloton.

“Everybody was very fresh in the final so it made for a very hectic finish. This finish line has been good to me and it has been bad to me in the past. There are seven kinks and you have to be in the correct position. I was almost getting to the front nut got blocked on the left side. But the most important thing for today was to consolidate the golden jersey for tomorrow and preserve the good work we have done this week.”

The stage was marred by several crashes, the worst of which came just before the riders turned onto north road. It resulted in a broken collarbone for Filippo Pozzato (Farense Vini-Selle Italia) as several other riders including Thor Hushovd (BMC) ended up on the Tarmac.

The eleventh Tour of Qatar concludes tomorrow after the 120km sixth stage from the Sealine Beach Resort to the Doha Corniche. It appears that only a crash, and injury or a major mechanical failure can stop Boonen from securing a fourth win in the GC. But the young riders jersey is still very much up for grabs, with just five seconds separating current holder Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Barracuda) and Adam Blythe (BMC).
 

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