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Cav, Boonen Close Out Qatar

Qatar_mediumHard to know what to make of today's Tour of Qatar stage, but Mark Cavendish launched another successful assault on the line, beating Robert Förster and Heinrich Haussler, while Tom Boonen rolled in 10th, securing his third overall title. Regarding yesterday's tragedy, both Boonen and Cavendish dedicated their wins to Frederiek Nolf's memory. No word yet on the riders' state of mind a day later, but the show went on in some form or another.

Slightly off-topic, but today's stage highlights the difficulty with assembling meaningful statistics. It's pretty hard to know if Boonen's fade is in any way indicative of his reliability as a sprinter. Maybe he just wanted the overall title and saw the stage as spoils for someone else. Or maybe he was concerned about crashing and losing the overall (he only beat Haussler overall by 8"), so he played it safe. Or maybe he was still mourning his countryman. Anyway, the cure for such vagueness is a huge sample size. So I'll talk about stats throughout the season, but don't make much of them until November.