Todays third stage started at the Camel Race Track and the 147.5 kilometres long stage finished at the Qatar foundation. Scott
Nydam (BMC) and Grant Irwin (Drapac Porsche) did not start, both riders were forced to quit yesterday. Unlike the previous
day, the wind, still as strong wasn’t favourable on the first half of the stage. Therefore the pace was much slower.
After 8 kilometres Volodymir Dyudya (Milram) made the best of the situation to break away. The lead of the Ukranian
rider grew rapidly. After 15 kilomtres Dyudya had a lead of 50 seconds on the first chaser, Omar
Hasanin (Doha Team) and 2' 25" on the bunch. After 25 kilometres is lead grew to 2 minutes on Hasanin and 10' 30" on
In the first hour the average speed was 34,6 km/h. Dyudya reached a maximum lead of 16' 10" on the bunch. Hasanin
never managed to move closer to the front man. After 51,5 kilometres Dyudya won the first intermediate sprint located
at Al Ghuwayriya, ahead of Hasanin (8 minutes behind) and Van Avermaet (Silence-Lotto) who then led the pack, 12' 30" behind
the leading escapee.
The second part of the stage was totally different. With the pack heading back south, the riders
enjoyed a strong tail wind. Like yesterday, the Quick Step squad accelerated and the bunch were riding much faster now. The
plans of the Belgian Pro-Tour team were however troubled by an attack of Maarten Tjallinghi (Silence-Lotto) that forced overall
leader Tom Boonen to stop his effort. Boonen failed to stay with the first part of the bunch and was 22" behind.
the same time, Dyudya's lead became smaller and smaller: After 71 kilometres 8'45" at kilometre 71, After 99 kilometres 4
minutes and only 2 minutes at kilometre 114. Boonen and his team mates managed to catch up with the first chasing
group. After a long 120 kilometre breakaway, Dyudya was eventually caught by the pack.
Well controlled by the Quick
Step, Lampre and Silence-Lotto teams, the bunch stayed together until the finish at the Qatar Foundation.
Tom Boonen won the mass sprint, once again beating his main rival, Danilo Napolitano (Lampre). Boonens teammate Steven
De Jongh came in third. TIt was Boonen's 14th success in Qatar and the 2005 road race world champion extended his
overall lead. Boonen also grabbed extra points in the silver jersey lead. Greg Van Avermeat (Silence-Lotto) defended
his lead in the young riders classification.
Tom Boonen said: "A very different stage compared to yesterday’s. Yesterday, we were controlling entirely. We did
whatever we wanted to. It sounds ’from out of the sky’ but it wasn’t. Today it was different. There was
the fall of Tjallinghi and that pushed Kevin (Hulsmans) and me out of the front group. From that moment on we could have chased
from the back but that would have cost us strength. We gambled a little bit and told he first four guys in front to stop riding.
Fourty kilometres later we caught them and we started controlling for the sprint."