February 7 - Norway's Edvald Boasson Hagen defied strong winds to take the yellow jersey on the opening day of the Tour of Qatar as his Team Sky won the 8.2 kilometre (5 miles) team time trial.

The 22-year-old rider crossed the finish line in a time of 9min 41sec as he was ably by a squad that included Britain's triple Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins making his debut for Sky after his controversial move in December from Garmin-Transitions.

Boasson Hagen's Spanish team mate Juan Antonio Flecha won the silver jersey while Britain's Geraint Thomas, also of Sky, was the fastest young rider.

Boasson Hagen, the 2009 Tour of Britain winner, said: "It is important to get a good start and we did that as a team.

"The team gets confidence when it starts well.

"Hopefully, this win will help us do well in the race.

"We had checked the course and we knew what to do.
"It was difficult to ride in this wind but we did really well.

"Now we have to ensure that we are in the lead in the stages also."

Wiggins said: "What a great start.

"After all the bullshit, after all the ifs and buts, the 'he said this, he said that'... to get on the road in a Sky skinsuit and do a performance like that sums everything up."

Team Sky director Scott Sunderland said: "Technically, we did a great job.

"It was good team work from the start to finish.

"I am satisfied."

Garmin-Transitions, which initially finished in third spot, moved up to second after a rider with the Cervelo Test Team was found guilty of an illegal manoeuvre, the UCI said.

They had won last year's opening stage after which Wiggins wore the leader's jersey.

One minute was added to Cervelo's overall time of 9:49, relegating the team to the back of the pack.

Team Saxo Bank was lying third, ahead of Team HTC Columbia and Quick Step, whose Belgian rider Tom Boonen won the Tour of Qatar last year and finished 20 seconds adrift of Boasson Hagen on Sunday.

Tomorrow second stage starts from the Camel Race Track and ends at the Qatar Foundation, a distance of 147 kilometres (91 miles).

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