Today's sixth and final stage of the 2009 Tour of Qatar ended with a second sprint victory by Team Columbia's "Manx Express," Mark Cavendish.
The 121-kilometer stage into the city of Doha started with a breakaway of six, including Claudio Corioni (Liquigas), Servais Knaven (Milram), Gatis Smukulis (AG2R La Mondiale), Marco Bandiera (Lampre-NGC), Chad Beyer (BMC Racing Team), and Rhys Pollock (Drapac).
Their lead was at one point four-and-a-half minutes, but the sprinters' teams Katusha, QuickStep, and Columbia whittled their advantage as the peloton approached the finishing circuit of nine laps around Doha Bay.
As the peloton approached the finish line, Team Columbia had a firm hold in controlling the sprint, and Mark Cavendish took full advantage of that to claim his second win this year. Robert Forster (Milram) was second, and Heinrich Haussler (Cervelo TestTeam) was third.
Tom Boonen (QuickStep) chose not to participate in the sprint today and instead finished in the bunch to claim the overall title of the Tour of Qatar for the third time in his career. He dedicated his win to compatriot Frederick Nolf, who died overnight on Wednesday.
Cervelo TestTeam's dominance in Stage Two, as well as a continued presence throughout the race, paid off, as their riders nabbed second through sixth places on the overall classification. Heinrich Haussler also took home the Best Young Rider's jersey, as well as the overall Sprint Points jersey, and was runner-up in the overall.
The Tour of Qatar is over for another year. The racing heats up dramatically next weekend with the start of the Tour of California.
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