The Garmin-Barracuda team flew to Tour of Qatar team time trial success this afternoon on the outskirts of Doha, Tom Boonen kept the race leader’s gold jersey by the narrowest of margins.
Seven seconds separated Boonen’s Omega Pharma-QuickStep squad from the winners after the 11.3-kilometre test: just enough for second place, and top spot by three hundreths of a second to rival Tyler Farrar.
Mark Cavendish led Team Sky over the line for third, nine seconds in arrears. The Manxman looked to be back towards his normal self after being weakened by illness on the eve of the race.
Garmin-Barracuda motor it
The TTT, a mixture of arrow-straight, flat roads and intermittent roundabouts, on the access roads of the Lusail motorcycling circuit suited Garmin-Barracuda well.
They went like proverbial motorbikes: one rival directeur sportif called them “unbeatable”.
Part of the winning team was Jack Bauer, who joined this winter from leading British squad Endura. “It’s good to come away with an early win. The team worked well out there,” Bauer said.
“I don’t think we could have gone any faster. We hit the corners well, we were good as a unit,” he added.
With the wind expected to pick up overnight, tomorrow’s 146.5km third stage between Dukhan and Al Gharafa Stadium could see decisive echelons forming and another GC shake up.
Tour of Qatar 2012, stage two: Lusail Circuit TTT, 11.3km
1. Garmin-Barracuda 12-38
2. Omega Pharma-Quick Step at 7secs
3. Team Sky at 9secs
4. Katusha at same time
5. Liquigas-Cannondale at 13secs
6. RadioShack-Nissan at 14secs
7. GreenEdge at 16secs
8. BMC Racing Team at same time
9. Rabobank at 17secs
10. Lotto-Belisol at same time
General classification after stage two
1. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 3-24-07
2. Tyler Farrar (Usa) Garmin-Barracuda at same time
3. Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Garmin-Barracuda at 3secs
4. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Barracuda
5. Thomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin-Barracuda
6. Robbie Hunter (Rsa) Garmin-Barracuda
7. Davide Appollonio (Ita) Team Sky at 7secs
8. Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
9. Gert Steegmans (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
10. Gullaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step all at same time
13. Matt Brammeier (Irl) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
20. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Sky at 12secs
25. Adam Blythe (GBr) BMC Racing Team at 13secs
59. Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky at 23secs
100. David McCann (Irl) RTS Racing Team at 1-37
102. Alex Coutts (GBr) RTS Racing Team
103. Lee Rodgers (GBr) RTS Racing Team
107. Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Team Sky at 1-50
Stage winners Garmin-Barracuda
Tom Boonen: Still in control, just
Tour of Qatar 2012 stage two photo gallery
Boonen denies Blythe in Qatar opener
Sick Cavendish misses training in Qatar
2012 Tour of Qatar: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index and preview