Australia’s Mark Renshaw kept his calm and composure to finally conquer the tenth edition of the Tour of Qatar after the final stage on the Doha Corniche. After capturing the Golden jersey yesterday, the HTC-Highroad sprinter kept a close eye on his main rival Heinrich Haussler and wins the event with an 8” advantage. The final stage was claimed by Italian Andrea Guardini ahead of Francesco Chicchi and Theo Bos.
The Sea Line Beach resort, south of Qatar welcomed the 116 remaining riders of the Tour for the fifth and final stage of the race: a 124.5km ride all the way to the Doha Corniche for a final showdown on a city circuit. As soon as the neutral ride to kilometre zero, several riders suffered a crash including three time event winner, Tom Boonen (QST) who however was able to hop back on his bike and catch the pack.
At kilometre 10, two riders managed to break away: Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Gediminas Bagdonas (SKT). Their lead over the pack rapidly grew: from 50” at km 12 to a maximum 5’30 at km 25.
The first intermediate sprint (at km 43.5) was claimed by Van Avermaet ahead of Bagdonas, while third place and a precious bonus second was captured by race leader Mark Renshaw (THR). The pack however remained 5’15 adrift.
The leading two entered the final circuit and still enjoyed a 3’50 advantage as they crossed the finish line for the first time, with 9 laps to go. The second bonus sprint was won by Bagdonas ahead of Van Avermaet and again Renshaw, 3’15 behind, finished third, grabbing an extra bonus second and taking his virtual overall lead to 8” over main rival Heinrich Haussler (GRM).
With two laps to go, the leading riders still had a 48” advantage but were eventually caught at the beginning of the final lap, at km 120. The pack remained bunched all the way to the final straight where Italian Andrea Guardini claimed his first ever success in Qatar. The Farnese rider eventually beat his compatriot Francesco Chicchi (QST) and Dutchman Theo Bos (RAB) to the line.
17th on the day, Mark Renshaw kept good control of his overall leader’s Golden jersey and therefore wins this tenth edition of the Tour of Qatar. In the final general classification, the Australian has a 8” lead over Haussler and 17” over Daniele Bennati (LEO). Haussler has to settle for the Silver jersey, winning the points classification while the best young rider of the Tour (White jersey) is Belgian Nikolas Maes (QST), 12th overall.