Report: Third win for Cav in Qatar


Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma Quickstep) won his third race of 2013 on stage 4 of the Tour of Qatar and takes over the leaders jersey

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Related Link: Win number 2 for Cav as he opens account in Qatar

BMC Racing Team’s Brent Bookwalter surrendered the overall lead Wednesday at the Tour of Qatar when Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) won his second straight bunch sprint at the end of Stage 4. Bookwalter and a number of BMC Racing Team riders were held up by a crash in the final kilometer of the 160 km race, but all were awarded the same time as the peloton.


A 10-second bonus that Cavendish earned for the win though moved him into the overall lead, two seconds ahead of Bookwalter, who is now second. Four more BMC Racing Team riders fill out the next four spots: Taylor Phinney is third (eight seconds behind), Adam Blythe is fourth (nine seconds) and Greg Van Avermaet and Michael Schär are fifth and sixth, respectively (both at 12 seconds). No BMC Racing Team riders were seriously hurt in the crash and none finished in the top 10 of the stage.

050213 OPQS-Tour of Qatar 2013-Stage 3-Cavendish podium (c)Tim De Waele

Race Report: Stage 4: Camel Race Track – Al Khor Corniche, 160 km

With a lot less wind than on the opening days of the Tour of Qatar, it was to be a stage for sprinters and when it comes to pure speed, there’s not much anyone can do against Mark Cavendish and his Omega Pharma Quickstep team.

Like on the previous stage, the Brit powered to an impressive win, beating Markus and Guardini to the line and thanks to his 6th stage success in Qatar, “Cav” takes command of the Overall Classification which means he’ll be wearing  the Golden leaders jersey  for the very first time on stage 5.

It’s been a tradition now for the last 12 years, the Camel Race Track hosted the start of stage 4. The 139 riders of the Tour of Qatar would have to take on the longest stage of this 12th edition: 160kms of racing all the way to the Al Khor Corniche on the east coast of the peninsula. After 13 kilometres of racing, three men managed to break away: Grivko (AST), Lang (IAM) and Smukulis (KAT). Their lead grew rapidly and reached 6’30 at the first intermediate sprint (km 37) won by Grivko ahead of Smukulis and Lang.

Not too concerned by the escapees, the pack remained 7’15 adrift at km 81. From then on, the gap dropped gradually. The second bonus sprint (km 124.5) was again claimed by Grivko in front of Lang and Smukulis with the peloton 5’15 behind. As several teams took on the chase, the front men’s advantage dropped to 3’45 with 25 kms to go and then 1’35 ten kilometres later.

The escapees were finally caught at km 146. The peloton remained together all the way to the final showdown in Al Khor. With less than one kilometre to go, a crash occurred, throwing to the ground around 15 riders. That, however, didn’t prevent Mark Cavendish (OPQ) from powering to his second consecutive stage win. The Brit again beat young and promising Markus (VCD) to the line while Guardini (AST) captured third spot.

Cavendish afterwards said “We were a little bit nervous about the breakaway. 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 kilometres 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 kilometre point.”

“Niki Terpstra found me with a kilometre 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.”

BMC’s Woes

BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Jackson Stewart said when the peloton reeled in a three-man breakaway inside the final 10 km, the team worked to set up Sheffield’s Adam Blythe for the sprint. “But in the end, we just didn’t have a good sprint,” he said. “It wasn’t the crash’s fault. We just weren’t together and Blythe wasn’t there.”

Phinney, who kept his lead in the best young rider classification, said he was feeling “a bit battered and bruised” from going down in a crash on Tuesday but was still fighting to help position Blythe for the finish. “You get a stage where you’re pretty much riding easy for three-and-a-half hours and then everybody is fresh for the sprint,” Phinney said.

“Fresh legs don’t make for safe finishes. I would much prefer it to be like the first day when everybody was pretty tired from all the wind and the echelons. It’s a lot less frightening.”


Third win in 2013 and 92nd in his career, Mark Cavendish wins stage 4 and the bonus sees him in the leader’s jersey for stage 5. Photos (© ASO/B. Bade)


1. Mark CAVENDISH, Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
2. Barry MARKUS, Vacansoleil – DCM
3. Andrea GUARDINI, Astana Pro Team
4. FilippoFORTIN, Bardiani Valvole – CSF Inox
5. AlexanderKRISTOFF, Katusha Team
6. Jonathan CANTWELL, Team Saxo-Tinkoff
7. Nacer BOUHANNI, Equipe Cycliste FDJ
8. Aidis KRUOPIS, Orica GreenEDGE
9. Edvald BOASSON HAGEN, Sky Procycling
10. Davide APPOLLONIO. AG2R La Mondiale

14 Adam Blythe BMC Racing Team
27 Luke Rowe Sky Procycling
31 Geraint Thomas Sky Procycling
36 Ian Stannard Sky Procycling
71 Paul Voss Team Netapp-Endura
72 Zakkari Dempster Team Netapp-Endura
93 Stephen Cummings BMC Racing Team
123 Russell Downing Team Netapp-Endura
126 Matt Brammeier Champion System

1. Mark CAVENDISH Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
2. Brent BOOKWALTER BMC Racing Team @ 0:02
3. Taylor PHINNEY BMC Racing Team @ 0:08
4. Adam BLYTHE BMC Racing Team @ 0:09
5. Greg VAN AVERMAET BMC Racing Team @ 0:12
6. Michael SCHAR BMC Racing Team
7. Bernhard EISEL Sky Procycling @ 0:13
8. Mathew HAYMAN Sky Procycling @ 0:14
9. Edvald BOASSON HAGEN Sky Procycling @ 0:16
10. Geraint THOMAS, Sky Procycling @ 0:17



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