NEWS
02/08/2012 11:01 EST | Updated 04/09/2012 05:12 EDT

Toronto cyclist Michael Barry suffers broken elbow in Tour of Qatar

DOHA, Qatar - Canadian cyclist Michael Barry has suffered a broken elbow in a crash at the Tour of Qatar.

The Toronto native, who rides for Team Sky, confirmed the news via Twitter.

"Thanks for the kind messages," he tweeted. "Sadly I broke my elbow. Surgery required. Hopefully back on the bike before too long."

Barry took a hard fall 25 kilometres from the finish of Wednesday's fourth stage.

Team Sky coach Rod Ellingworth said on the team's website that Barry was badly cut and had "taken a lot of skin off his back."

Ellingworth said Barry was going flat out when someone in front of him went down.

"Michael said he just didn’t have any chance at all to react — they were doing about 70km/h at the time," said Ellingworth.

Meanwhile, Tom Boonen edged closer to winning his fourth Qatar title when he grabbed the fourth stage ahead of Tom Veelers and Fabian Cancellara.

Riding under clear skies unlike the previous day, Boonen timed his sprint to perfection, winning the 144.5-kilometre stage from Al Thakhira at Madinat Al Shamal in the northern tip of Qatar.

It was Boonen's second stage win this week and his 20th overall in Qatar.

He improved his overall lead against American Tyler Farrar of Garmin-Barrucuda to 31 seconds with two stages to go.

Farrar suffered a puncture that hurt his team, which won the team time trial on Monday. Farrar finished ninth on Wednesday.

Spanish rider Juan Antonio Flecha of Sky Team was third overall, 34 seconds off the pace.

Boonen emerged the fittest of the riders on a day when stage three winner Mark Cavendish of Britain was left behind with nearly 30 kilometres remaining in the stage.

Boonen, with help from his Omega-Pharma Quick Step team, increased his break to 21 seconds as fellow riders struggled due to strong crosswinds in the open areas near the finish line in Madinat Al Shamal.

With five kilometres to go, Boonen was racing Dutchman Vellers and Swiss star Cancellara. But the tall Belgian — winner in Doha in 2006, 2008 and 2009 — put in a perfect lunge for the finish line.

On Thursday, the riders start from the Camel Race Track and end the 160-kilometre stage five at Al Khor Corniche.