Australian rider Heinrich Haussler won the second stage of the Tour of Qatar and barely missed taking the yellow jersey from Tom Boonen of Belgium by one second on Tuesday.
Haussler, of Garmin-Cervelo, outsprinted Daniele Bennati of Leopard Trek and Denis Galimzyanov of Katusha to win the 135.5-kilometre stage from the Camel Race Track to the Doha Golf Club in 3 hours, 4 minutes, 3 seconds.
The first 97 riders all registered the same time after the first-day winds calmed.
More at Cycling Central
Three-time champion Boonen, sixth on the stage, led overall by one second from Haussler and 4 seconds from fellow Australian, Mark Renshaw with HTC-Highroad.
Haussler said he was surprised and relieved to finally pick up a stage, after four seconds and two thirds on previous visits to Qatar.
“I’ve had so many seconds here the last few years that it’s good to get a win. Especially after last year, when so many things went so wrong for me,” he said.
“It wasn’t really expected but I am happy with my form and the way things are at the moment in the team. This way I can go to the next stage and the next race on a high.”
Boonen said he and his Quick Step team left themselves too much to do to catch the leading group in the last kilometre and a half, but he was still satisfied.
“We (himself and Haussler) both have the same objective (to win). We are strong, so let the best guy win. It is a challenge,” Boonen said.
“The only way forward is to keep the yellow jersey. Maybe a few more risks may help.”
Wednesday’s third stage will be 150.5 kilometres from Al Wakra to Mesaieed in Qatar’s southeast.
Tour of Qatar second stage result
1. Heinrich Haussler (AUS/Garmin) 3hr 04min 03sec
2. Daniele Bennati (ITA) s.t.,
3. Denis Galimzyanov (RUS) s.t.,
4. Theo Bos (NED) s.t.,
5. Roger Kluger (GER) s.t.,
6. Tom Boonen (BEL) s.t.,
7. Mirco Lorenzetto (ITA) s.t.,
8. Danilo Hondo (GER) s.t.,
9. Gert Steegmans (BEL) s.t.,
10. Wouter Weylandt (BEL) s.t.
1. Tom Boonen (BEL/Quick Step) 6hr 06min 35sec,
2. Heinrich Haussler (AUS) at 1sec,
3. Mark Renshaw (AUS) 4,
4. Fabian Cancellara (SUI) 8,
5. Juan Antonio Flecha (ESP) 9,
6. Daniele Bennati (ITA) 10,
7. Andreas Klier (GER) 16,
8. Gert Steegmans (BEL) 17,
9. Jeremy Hunt (GBR) 19,
10. Dominique Rollin (CAN) 19