GB’s Cavendish wins Tour of Qatar

Tour of Qatar

Mark Cavendish (left) is narrowly beaten to the line by Alexander Kristoff on the final stage

Britain’s Mark Cavendish won the Tour of Qatar for the second time after finishing second in the final stage.

The 30-year-old from the Isle of Man, riding for Team Dimension Data, won by five seconds from Alexander Kristoff.

Norway’s Kristoff edged out 2013 winner Cavendish in a sprint finish for the second time in Friday’s stage five.

Cavendish won the first of the race’s five stages on Monday, had two second-place finishes and rode a superb time trial on Wednesday.

The sprint specialist had a two-second lead over Belgian Greg Van Avermaet going into Friday’s final stage, with Katusha star Kristoff nine seconds adrift in fourth place.

With 10, six and four bonus seconds respectively available for the first three over the line, Cavendish knew he could afford to lose to Kristoff providing he also finished on the podium.

Cavendish’s victory in the general classification caps an eventful week for his new team Dimension Data, after his team-mate Edvald Boasson Hagen lost the lead in the unluckiest circumstances on Thursday when he punctured twice in the finale.

Cavendish could return to the track for next month’s World Championships in London

“Obviously it’s nice to be wearing gold now, but I know I am only wearing it on behalf of Edvald,” said Cavendish.

“He only lost it because of bad luck. He should be the guy wearing this gold jersey but we are just super happy to keep it in Team Dimension Data.”

Matt Slater, BBC Sport cycling reporter

“Victory in Qatar shows that Cavendish is in fine shape after spending the winter concentrating on his attempt to qualify for Great Britain’s Olympic track team and win an elusive Olympic medal in the omnium.

“He warned journalists last month that he did not know how good his stamina on the road would be but, after a solid Tour of Dubai last week, it looks as though he will be able to combine his road and track ambitions in a packed 2016, which will delight his bosses at Dimension Data.

“Cavendish has yet to publicly commit to riding the multi-event omnium at the World Track Championships in London next month but is now certain to do so.

“If he can continue to perform like this, he should be able to flip between road and velodrome all the way to the Tour de France, Rio and back to Qatar for the World Road Championships in October.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/35563027

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