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Dominant start for Sky in Qatar team time trial

Edvald Boasson Hagen is the first leader at the Tour of Qatar after Team Sky blasted to victory in the windswept opening team time trial on Sunday. With Bradley Wiggins doing massive turns on the front and the riders sticking to a carefully planned race strategy, Team Sky set a time of nine minutes and 41 seconds for the circular 8.2km course.

Team Sky started and finished with a strong tailwind but had to handle ever-changing conditions as they completed the lap around the West Bay Lagoon. On the final tailwind section, the squad flew to the finish at over 70km/h and set an average speed of 50.809km/h.

The Cervelo TestTeam set the second fastest time, but they were later penalized one minute because Heinrich Haussler pushed teammate Gabriel Rasch after doing a turn on the front. Haussler claimed it was for safety reasons, after a gust of wind blew Rasch towards him, but the judges refused to listen to their appeal, and the entire team was penalized one minute.

Garmin moved up to second overall but was eight seconds slower than Team Sky. Team Saxo Bank finished third; 13 seconds slower, despite losing the time trial World Champion Fabian Cancellara partway round the course.

HTC-Columbia was fourth at 18 seconds, and Tom Boonen's Quick Step team was fifth at 20 seconds. The small French team Saur-Sojasun put in a surprisingly strong ride, finishing sixth at 21 seconds.

Boasson Hagen in gold

Edvald Boasson Hagen was the first rider to cross the line for Team Sky and so pulled on the leader's gold jersey.

"It's nice for the whole team. We worked so well together. We practiced a lot in training in the last few days, and we got it exactly right," Boasson Hagen said.

"It's going to be hard in the rest of the race with the wind, but I hope to stay in the front group and get some results. I've got the jersey now, and hopefully I can keep it but we'll take each day as it comes. There are so many good sprinters here but we'll see what happens. It's important to have a lead on some of them."

Team Sky riders waited together just after the finish and listened nervously as the other teams failed to beat their time. When last team Quick Step crossed the line, 20 seconds slower, team principal Dave Brailsford shouted out the news and the riders and staff celebrated with hugs and high fives.

After winning the opening criterium and final stage at the Tour Down Under, the team had struck again, showing they know how to win as a team.

Perfect ride in difficult conditions

Senior directeur sportif Scott Sunderland was all smiles after Team Sky put out a perfect ride in technically very difficult conditions.

"We had two guys, Russ Downing and Lars Petter Nordhaug, who had never done a team time trial and the other guys had never done it together, so it was quite new for us. But we did it and it's very special," he said to Cyclingnews.

"The guys prepared very well in training both yesterday and this morning when the conditions changed. Just getting the team to gel is the magic here. The strong guys did what they had to do and the weaker guys supported them fantastically, doing everything they had to do."

Team Sky filled the first six places in the overall standings after the team time trial. Tyler Farrar is seventh at eight seconds and has the best chance of taking the race lead if he can collect time bonuses during stage two and in the sprint at the end of the stage. Stuart O'Grady and JJ. Haedo (Saxo Bank) are at 13 seconds, while Tom Boonen (Quick Step) needs to pull back 20 seconds on Boasson Hagen if he is to win the Tour of Qatar again this year.

Time bonuses of three, two and one second(s) are available at intermediate sprints and 10, six and four seconds are awarded at stage finishes.

The fight for those bonus seconds will begin on Monday's second stage over 147km from the Camel Race Track to the Qatar Foundation near Doha.

1Sky Pro Cycling Team0:09:41
3Team Saxo bank0:00:13
4Team HTC - Columbia0:00:18
5Quick Step0:00:20
6Saur - Sojasun0:00:21
7Liquigas - Doimos
8BMC Racing Team
9Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team0:00:22
10Team Milram0:00:25
11Team Katusha0:00:33
12Omega Pharma - Lotto
13Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator Pro Cycling Team
14AG2R - La mondiale0:00:37
15Trek Livestrong U230:00:39
16Cervélo Test Team0:01:08

1Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Pro Cycling Team0:09:41
2Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Sky Pro Cycling Team
3Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Pro Cycling Team
4Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Pro Cycling Team
5Lars-Peter Nordhaug (Nor) Sky Pro Cycling Team
6Russel Downing (GBr) Sky Pro Cycling Team0:00:02
7Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Transitions0:00:08
8Martijn Maaskant (Ned) Garmin - Transitions
9Murilo Antoniobil Fischer (Bra) Garmin - Transitions
10Svein Tuft (Can) Garmin - Transitions
11Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Garmin - Transitions
12Kirk Carlsen (USA) Garmin - Transitions
13Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank0:00:13
14Frank Hoj (Den) Team Saxo Bank
15Matti Breschel (Den) Team Saxo Bank
16Juan Jose Haedo (Arg) Team Saxo Bank
17Dominik Klemme (Ger) Team Saxo Bank
18Luis-Sebastian Haedo (Arg) Team Saxo Bank
19Baden Cooke (Aus) Team Saxo Bank0:00:18
20Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Team HTC - Columbia
21Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team HTC - Columbia
22Martin Velits (Svk) Team HTC - Columbia
23Patrick Gretsch (Ger) Team HTC - Columbia
24Lars Bak (Den) Team HTC - Columbia
25Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) Team HTC - Columbia
26Adam Hansen (Aus) Team HTC - Columbia
27Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step0:00:20
28Maarten Wynants (Bel) Quick Step
29Marco Velo (Ita) Quick Step
30Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Quick Step
31Kévin Van Impe (Bel) Quick Step
32Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Saur-Sojasun0:00:21
33Rony Martias (Fra) Saur-Sojasun
34Cédric Coutouly (Fra) Saur-Sojasun
35Laurent Mangel (Fra) Saur-Sojasun
36Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur-Sojasun
37Jimmy Casper (Fra) Saur-Sojasun
38Romain Matheou (Fra) Saur-Sojasun
39Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo
40Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo
41Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo
42Manuel Quinziato (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo
43Maciej Paterski (Pol) Liquigas-Doimo
44Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo
45Davide Cimolai (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo
46Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing Team
47Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team
48Zahner Simon (Swi) BMC Racing Team
49John Murphy (USA) BMC Racing Team
50Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team
51Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team
52Jackson Stewart (USA) BMC Racing Team
53Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team0:00:22
54Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
55Arnoud Van Groen (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
56Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
57Wouter Mol (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
58Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Pro Cycling Team0:00:24
59Björn Schröder (Ger) Team Milram0:00:25
60Servais Knaven (Ned) Team Milram
61Wim De Vocht (Bel) Team Milram
62Roger Kluge (Ger) Team Milram
63Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Milram
64Peter Wrolich (Aut) Team Milram
65Roy Sentjens (Bel) Team Milram
66Stéphane Poulhies (Fra) Saur-Sojasun0:00:26
67Gert Dockx (Bel) Team HTC - Columbia0:00:27
68Jens Mouris (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
69Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Quick Step0:00:32
70Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Katusha0:00:33
71Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Katusha
72Nicolaï Trussov (Rus) Katusha
73Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Katusha
74Artem Ovechkin (Rus) Katusha
75Styn Vandenbergh (Bel) Katusha
76Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma - Lotto
77Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Omega Pharma - Lotto
78Wilfried Cretskens (Bel) Omega Pharma - Lotto
79Sebastian Lang (Ger) Omega Pharma - Lotto
80Leif Hoste (Bel) Omega Pharma - Lotto
81Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Omega Pharma - Lotto
82Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator
83Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator
84Stijn Neirynck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator
85Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator
86Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator
87Klaas Lodewijck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator
88Steven Van Vooren (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator
89Geert Steurs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator
90Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Sky Pro Cycling Team0:00:36
91Nikita Eskov (Rus) Katusha0:00:37
92Kristof Goddaert (Bel) Ag2R-La Mondiale
93Sébastien Hinault (Fra) Ag2R-La Mondiale
94Christophe Riblon (Fra) Ag2R-La Mondiale
95Lloyd Mondory (Fra) Ag2R-La Mondiale
96Nicolas Rousseau (Fra) Ag2R-La Mondiale
97Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Ag2R-La Mondiale
98Taylor Phinney (USA) Trek Livestrong0:00:39
99Julian Kyer (USA) Trek Livestrong
100Jesse Sergent (Nzl) Trek Livestrong
101Alex Dowsett (GBr) Trek Livestrong
102Ben King (Aus) Trek Livestrong
103Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank0:00:56
104Alexander Kristoff (Nor) BMC Racing Team0:01:02
105Martin Reimer (Ger) Cervélo TestTeam0:01:08
106Jérémy Hunt (GBr) Cervélo TestTeam
107Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervélo TestTeam
108Theo Bos (Ned) Cervélo TestTeam
109Roger Hammond (GBr) Cervélo TestTeam
110Andreas Klier (Ger) Cervélo TestTeam
111Davide Appollonio (Ita) Cervélo TestTeam
112Danny Pate (USA) Garmin - Transitions0:01:11
113Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Cervélo TestTeam0:01:13
114Marco Bandiera (Ita) Katusha0:01:30
115Michiel Elijzen (Ned) Omega Pharma - Lotto
116Ben Gastauer (Lux) Ag2R-La Mondiale0:01:32
117Julien Berard (Fra) Ag2R-La Mondiale
118Justin Williams (USA) Trek Livestrong0:01:34
119Frederik Willems (Bel) Liquigas-Doimo0:01:35
120Ben King (USA) Trek Livestrong0:02:05
121Cody Campbell (Can) Trek Livestrong0:02:13
122Kevin De Weert (Bel) Quick Step0:02:14
123Andreas Stauff (Ger) Quick Step
124Kenny De Haes (Bel) Omega Pharma - Lotto
125Niki Terpstra (Ned) Team Milram0:02:25
126Steven Cozza (USA) Garmin - Transitions0:02:52
127Matthé Pronk (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team0:03:14
128Bobbie Traksel (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team

Young Riders Classification
1Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Pro Cycling Team0:09:41
2Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Pro Cycling Team
3Kirk Carlsen (USA) Garmin - Transitions0:00:08
4Dominik Klemme (Ger) Team Saxo Bank0:00:13
5Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Team HTC - Columbia0:00:18
6Martin Velits (Svk) Team HTC - Columbia
7Patrick Gretsch (Ger) Team HTC - Columbia
8Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) Team HTC - Columbia
9Romain Matheou (Fra) Saur-Sojasun0:00:21
10Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo
11Maciej Paterski (Pol) Liquigas-Doimo
12Davide Cimolai (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo
13Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team
14Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team
15Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team0:00:22
16Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Pro Cycling Team0:00:24
17Roger Kluge (Ger) Team Milram0:00:25
18Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Milram
19Stéphane Poulhies (Fra) Saur-Sojasun0:00:26
20Gert Dockx (Bel) Team HTC - Columbia0:00:27
21Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Katusha0:00:33
22Nicolaï Trussov (Rus) Katusha
23Artem Ovechkin (Rus) Katusha
24Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Omega Pharma - Lotto
25Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator
26Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator
27Stijn Neirynck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator
28Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator
29Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator
30Klaas Lodewijck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator
31Steven Van Vooren (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator
32Kristof Goddaert (Bel) Ag2R-La Mondiale0:00:37
33Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Ag2R-La Mondiale
34Taylor Phinney (USA) Trek Livestrong0:00:39
35Julian Kyer (USA) Trek Livestrong
36Jesse Sergent (Nzl) Trek Livestrong
37Alex Dowsett (GBr) Trek Livestrong
38Ben King (Aus) Trek Livestrong
39Alexander Kristoff (Nor) BMC Racing Team0:01:02
40Martin Reimer (Ger) Cervélo TestTeam0:01:08
41Davide Appollonio (Ita) Cervélo TestTeam
42Ben Gastauer (Lux) Ag2R-La Mondiale0:01:32
43Julien Berard (Fra) Ag2R-La Mondiale
44Justin Williams (USA) Trek Livestrong0:01:34
45Ben King (USA) Trek Livestrong0:02:05
46Cody Campbell (Can) Trek Livestrong0:02:13
47Andreas Stauff (Ger) Quick Step0:02:14
48Steven Cozza (USA) Garmin - Transitions0:02:52

Teams Classification
1Sky Pro Cycling Team0:09:41
3Team Saxo bank0:00:13
4Team HTC - Columbia0:00:18
5Quick Step0:00:20
6Saur - Sojasun0:00:21
7Liquigas - Doimos
8BMC Racing Team
9Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team0:00:22
10Team Milram0:00:25
11Team Katusha0:00:33
12Omega Pharma - Lotto
13Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator Pro Cycling Team
14AG2R - La mondiale0:00:37
15Trek Livestrong U230:00:39
16Cervélo Test Team0:01:08


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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.

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