Bookwalter wins opening stage

American Brent Bookwalter emerged triumphant from a thrilling sprint finish to win the first stage of the Tour of Qatar on Sunday.

Bookwalter and Swiss pair Martin Elmiger and Gregory Rast (RadioShack Leopard) broke clear towards the end of the 145.2-kilometre stage from Katara Cultural Village to Dukhan Beach.

The trio established a 45-second gap over the peloton at one point, although the chasing pack began to reel them in and in the end they were ahead only by a narrow margin.

Elmiger took second ahead of Rast, while Team Sky rider Bernhard Eisel of Austria came in fourth having outsprinted his former colleague Mark Cavendish.

Great Britain's Cavendish, now with Omega Pharma-Quick Step, ended up sixth, with Italian Elia Viviani (Cannondale) coming fifth.