Tom Boonen reinforced both his grip on the Tour of Qatar bunch sprints and the overall lead thanks a second successive stage win on Tuesday.

In a gripping finale, Boonen confidently outgunned arch-rival Alessandro Petacchi despite the Italian receiving the perfect lead out from his Milram squad. On the slightly curving finishing straight, Boonen stormed past Petacchi – who went a little too early – to take the 140 kilometre stage to Kalifa by a good three metres. Third was Bernard Eisel of the T-Mobile squad.

Boonen now goes into stage four of the race as a more than likely final overall winner. His Quick Step squad showed in the opening team time trial that they are the strongest squad present and their morale will be reinforced thanks to Boonen?s victories.

Under fire back in Belgium following the unconfirmed allegations of doping practices published last week, taking three stage wins in a row will provide some good news for the sponsors – and there?s every chance of more.

Results to follow…