Quick Step again conquered the opening team time-trial which took place in excellent weather conditions
on Doha’s very long Corniche.
The Belgian squad clocked 6 minutes and 35 seconds at the line, with an
average speed of 54,683 km/h on the 6 kilometres long course. The team was lucky to finish with all riders, a few
metres behind the finish line Kevin Hulsmans had a puncture.
For its season opening race and its first appearance in Qatar, the Slipstream Chipotle team, that had led the day’s
race for quite some time, finally had to settle for second spot, two seconds adrift.
The Skill Shimano riders captured
a rather good third position, five seconds off the winning pace.
First of the Quick Step boys on the finish line, Italian Matteo Tosatto, a Tour de France stage winner back in 2006 (in
Macon) claims the first golden jersey of the Arabian stage race and leads the overall ahead of Cretskens and
The first blue jersey for the best young rider goes to Australia’s Christopher Sutton (TSL).
Matteo Tosatto said: "It’s a nice way to start the year. It’s our team’s first race and the first one
for Tom [Boonen]. We’re happy because we win for our first race. Last year we won this team time-trial and we repeated
our performance. It’s an important success because there have been a lot of stories that have nothing to do with cycling.
We went for a training camp in Spain just before we arrived here in Qatar and we prove that we’ve worked well over there.
It’s clear that Tom is our captain. We’ll see what happens at tomorrow’s stage. The most important
was to start well this Tour of Qatar."