Garmin-Slipstream Time Trials to Win in Qatar

Zachary MainoContributor IFebruary 1, 2009

Tom Boonen (Quick-Step) was hoping his team could accomplish the same thing they did the past two seasons by win the opening team time trial of the 2009 Tour of Qatar.

Simultaneously, Johnathan Vaughters, the director of Garmin-Slipstream, was hoping that his team could repeat their performance from the opening stage of the 2008 Giro d'Italia and win the opening TTT in Qatar ahead of Quick-Step.

At 7:36am eastern standard time(3:36pm in Qatar), that's exactly what team Garmin-Slipstream set out to do. Powered by Brittish track star and gold medalist Bradley Wiggins, Garmin-Slipstream beat Boonen's Quick-Step squad by one second over the 6km course.

Wiggins being the first team member to cross the line took the first gold leaders jersey of the 2009 Tour of Qatar.

Quick-Step was three seconds behind, but made a large push in the final kilometer and sprinted to the line to finish only .64 seconds off the winning pace. The result was a reverse of last years opening TTT where Quick-Step edged out Slipstream on the line.

It was an earned victory for the Garmin team as they spent the two days leading up to the race in Girona, Spain working on their TTT skills. (Video on the team website)

The top five rounded out with Katusha taking third at two seconds, Rabobank fourth at four seconds, and Liquigas fifth at four seconds as well.

The race continues tomorrow with a 134km second stage from the Khalifa Stadium to the Al Khor Corniche. The stage will be the first glance at the anticipated Boonen-Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad) rivalry.