18-Sep-2013: Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Mark Cavendish earned the 54th victory (52nd road) in three disciplines for the team in 2013, winning the bunch kick of the 190.9km Tour of Britain Stage 4 on Wednesday.
The race came back together with about 1km to go, after Iljo Keisse attacked with 2.3km to go out of an 11-rider breakaway of the day. OPQS put Cavendish in good position for the sprint, sitting on the wheel of Alessandro Petacchi for the final leadout. Cavendish overtook everyone within the final few hundred meters for the victory, as no one was able to come back around him. Elia Viviani (Cannondale ProCycling Team) was 2nd, and Steele Von Hoff (Garmin-Sharp) was 3rd.
“Iljo did a great job for us today, we really didn’t have to work because he was in the breakaway,” Sport Director Brian Holm said. “We just followed and won the sprint with the British Champion Cavendish. Iljo went with the break after 30 or 40 kilometers into the stage and it looked like the peloton wouldn’t chase him back. Iljo had good legs today, so we thought he possibly had the stage when he attacked late. But they chased him down in the last kilometer or so. We knew Cav had a fair chance for the sprint. Petacchi just delivered him perfectly. Cav was 10th in the TT yesterday so we knew he was in pretty good shape and riding well. But even then, our big focus for him from the start of Tour of Britain was really the last day in London. Otherwise there was no stress, no pressure. We gave our GC guys like Michal Golas, Julien Vermote and Martin Velits carte blanche until that day. Iljo said he was good today, so we gave him a chance and it still worked out for us in the final with a great sprint of Cavendish. We were still getting used to our new leadout formation in the first days, but today we found each other and won. So, this should be really good for the morale in the next stages leading into London.”
“I am really, really happy about my victory and the super job of the guys,” Cavendish said. “Fortunately we had the entire day with Iljo in the break, so we didn’t have to ride behind. The guys stayed with me the entire day. On the last climb, the short climb when Martin attacked, I have to say I was at the limit — but the guys stayed with me and brought me back. They showed a big commitment. That is why I did my best in the sprint. Even Petacchi, who was still suffering from the crash of a couple days ago, wanted to be there. He really led me out in the final. He put me in the best position for the sprint. Now we are looking forward to the next stages. We can play a role in the GC for the next two stages with Golas and Vermote, then there is the stage of Saturday and of course Sunday in London where I hope I can do something good.”