February 9 - Belgium's Tom Boonen (pictured) came out on top in a sprint finish today to win stage three of the Tour of Qatar as the riders of Britain's Team Sky came home safely in the pack following a difficult stage yesterday.

The Quick Step rider, who has won the event three times in the last four years, held off the challenge of Heinrich Haussler and Baden Cooke to take the 136.5km stage from Dukhan to Mesaieed. Wouter Mol retained his overall lead of nine seconds over Geert Steurs as the peloton finished together.

But the finish was marred by a pile-up 200 metres from the line, with Germany's Gerald Ciolek suffering a broken collarbone in the incident.

Team Sky's senior sports director, Scott Sunderland, was relieved to see his riders avoid injury having lost the Norwegian Kurt-Asle Arvesen to a broken collarbone yesterday.

Sunderland said: "It was a super-fast last few kilometres and then in the closing stages five or six riders came down.

"We'd had a team meeting beforehand and said we're here to do well but don't want to be taking any unnecessary risks at this stage of the season, if it's not merited.

"It was a tough day yesterday but a little bit better today, even though we had another four punctures on account of some rough road surfaces.

"The main thing now is for the riders to get to know each other out on the road, and get used to communicating and working with each other on the bike in different race situations."

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