AL KHOR, Qatar, Feb 6, 2013 (AFP) – Mark Cavendish contined his fine form
on Wednesday as the Isle of Man speedster won for the second straight day by
taking the fourth stage of the Tour of Qatar and seizing the overall lead.
The British rider who is in his first season with Omega Pharma-Quick Step
after a move from Team Sky, won a mass sprint after 160km of racing between
the Camel Race Track and Al Khor Corniche.
He came home ahead of Dutchman Barry Markus of Vacansoleil – in a repeat
1-2 finish in stage 3 – while Astana’s Andrea Guardini of Italy claimed third
The 27-year-old who has picked up 23 stage wins on the Tour de France, a
record for a sprinter and fourth all-time, now has six victories on the roads
of Qatar and takes the gold jersey from American Brent Bookwalter by two
“We were a little bit nervous about the breakaway,” Cavendish said. “We started to ride — two of our guys, two from BMC, and one from Vacansoleil — and with the break only being three riders it’s kind of too hard to control. But when we started riding, we started pulling them back really quickly. That was a really strong group out there. There wasn’t enough wind to split the peloton but enough to keep it from being easy riding. It looked like it wasn’t coming back, but with 12, 13 kilometers to go teams really went to the front to bring everything back. When that started, there was a headwind and it looked like it was going to be a bunch sprint. There were only about three of us left at that point because we’d been working to bring the break back. Zdenek Stybar did a perfect job with 5km to go, and then Matteo Trentin put me in perfect position in the last roundabout at the 1.5 kilometer point. Niki Terpstra found me with a kilometer to go and moved me into the top 15, and I used the same tactics I did last year when I won on the same stage. The wind came from the right, everyone goes right, so I went left, and was shielded. So, I got the perfect position and acceleration in the sprint to get the win.”
Cavendish also took over the overall lead through the stage win by 2 seconds. Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing Team) is now 2nd, and his teammate Taylor Phinney is 3rd by 8 seconds. Still, OPQS and Cavendish will take it day by day, as they did going into the stage on Wednesday.
“I think tomorrow is the main stage of the Tour of Qatar,” Cavendish said. “We will see what happens, and then Friday is the last day, but we’ll keep going for the stage wins and see what comes from that. I am really, really happy right now. Three wins already, shows me, and shows Patrick Lefevere, that I made the right move to Omega Pharma – Quick-Step. I get along really well with the guys already. I am really happy with how things are going. We have a good ambiance with the team. I hope this can continue and we can keep getting good results this year.”
Thursday’s penultimate stage will see the peloton travel over 154km from Al
Zubara Fort to Madinat Al Shamal, before the final day on Friday and the race
conclusion at Doha.
Tour of Qatar results after Wednesday’s
1. Mark Cavendish (GBR/Omega Pharma), 160 km in 3hr 30min 5sec
2. Markus Barry (NED) same time
3. Andrea Guardini (ITA) s.t.
4. Filippo Fortin (ITA) s.t.
5. Alexander Kristoff (NOR) s.t.
6. Jonathan Cantwell (AUS) s.t.
7. Nacer Bouhanni (FRA) s.t.
8. Aidis Kruopis (LTU) s.t.
9. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) s.t.
10. Davide Apollonio (ITA) s.t.
1. Mark Cavendish (GBR/Omega Pharma), 462 km in 10hr 20min 1sec
2. Brent Bookwalter (USA) at 2sec
3. Taylor Phinney (USA) 8
4. Adam Blythe (GBR) 9
5. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL) 12
6. Michael Schar (SUI) 12
7. Bernhard Eisel (AUT) 13
8. Mathew Hayman (AUS) 14
9. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) 16
10. Geraint Thomas (GBR) 17