Tour of Qatar: Fourth stage win & overall for Cavendish


Moving to a new team in 2013 has certainly provided Britain’s Mark Cavendish with the platform for a winning start to the season as grabs four stages and the overall for Quickstep

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Mark Cavendish took his tally to over 100 victories according to Infostrada Sports when he won the final stage of the 2013 Tour of Qatar and with it, the overall classification as well continuing the good work that his Quickstep teammate Tom Boonen has done int he desert over the years.

Mark’s Victories in Qatar: | Win Number 1 | Win Number 2 | Win Number 3 |

Video of the Final Few Kilometres

At the start of the sixth and final stage of the 2013 Tour of Qatar, at the Sealine Beach Resort, Golden Jersey Mark Cavendish (OPQ) could enjoy a 15” lead over his closest rival Brent Bookwalter (BMC). Enough to serenely consider a first overall success in Qatar. But what the Brit hadn’t expected was the fall he was to suffer as soon as km 8 when he hit the ground as well as Bookwalter. A big fright without big consequences as he was able to hop back on his bike unhurt and returned to the pack well helped out by his Omega Pharma Quickstep team mates.

Despite several attempts, the pack remained bunched all the way to the first intermediate sprint (at Al Wakra, km 38.5) won by Phinney (BMC) ahead of Eisel (SKY) and Van Keirsbulck (OPQ). At km 40, the first real breakaway occurred as five men took off: Popovych (RLT), Boucher (FDJ), Kreder (VCD), Isaichev (KAT) and Friedemann. But despite having a 20” lead, they were gobbled up by the pack just two kilometres later.

After these usual skirmishes, the final stage reached its climax with Cavendish narrowly, for him, holding off Yauheni Hutarovich (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Barry Markus (Vacansoleil-DCM), with another British rider, Adam Blythe in fourth. It is only the second time Mark Cavendish has won a stage race overall following a win last season the ZLM Toer. His margin of overall victory was 25 seconds over Brent Bookwalter (BMC), while Adam Blythe (BMC) made it two Britons in the top five by finishing fourth overall, 30 seconds down on his compatriot.

The final stage took the riders on a short, 116km flat route starting at the Sealine Beach Resort and finishing with 10 laps of a 6km circuit around Doha Corniche. In the absence of any purposeful breakaway, the peloton entered the final 30km with Omega Pharma – Quick-Step controlling the pace at the front. But as the pace quickened in the closing stages, other teams including Team Sky took up the initiative and the Belgian squad fell back down to the pack.

Cavendish, however, has proved the master of positioning in Qatar and used other teams’ lead-out trains on the left-hand side of the peloton as the springboard for his sprint victory.

080213 OPQS-Qatar Stage 6-Cavendish Tim De Waele

Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Mark Cavendish snuck his way through a tough situation inside the final kilometre at Tour of Qatar Stage 6 on Friday. The peloton was determined to try and prevent his fourth straight victory, and as he was slightly boxed in within the final meters, it looked to be a tough task for the Manx Missile. However, after his OPQS teammates protected him all race long, Cavendish found enough of an opening in the final 300 meters to sneak up the left side and accelerate for the win. His fourth straight victory at Tour of Qatar also sealed the overall win, and he even took home the points jersey with 70 points.

“It was kind of like Al Khor, actually,” Cavendish said of the final sprint, comparing his tactics to the victory of Stage 4. “I knew the wind was coming from the right, knew a gap was coming from the left. Same as when I won in 2009. The same tactics. The guys were going, and going, and going.”

“Other teams started winding up with four laps to go. Still, it ended up the same way with one lap to go. It’s a bit safer into the last lap and everyone’s happy. The guys had been a bit used up for working for me all day and the entire race, so I knew I can kind of just go alone, can leave it late and come up the left side again. That’s exactly what I did. I knew they would go right, and I could just use other leadouts to move up in the last 300 meters and jump on the left hand side.”

Cavendish said he was a bit “rusty” after a crash earlier slightly after 15km into the final stage. “I tweeted this morning that I’ve won and crashed this stage before — the previous one — and the fact is I did both again,” Cavendish said with a laugh. “I was just going along after 15km, came to a roundabout not going hard, just riding. I was riding on someone’s wheel and he just went down. He doesn’t even know what happened. But, that’s bike racing. It was a freak accident. I’m a bit banged up, but I’m OK. I am just kind of twisted, but we’ll get it sorted.”

Cavendish was all smiles talking about earned the first overall victory for OPQS in 2013 at Tour of Qatar — a race OPQS has been successful at since it began. Cavendish not only continued the tradition at Tour of Qatar, he also added a second stage victory to his palmares.

“I’m over the moon,” Cavendish said. “We come here every year almost guaranteed an overall victory with Tom Boonen, but he’s recovering from an injury. So it put a little bit of pressure on me and I was a bit nervous. But I’m really happy to get the win. The guys worked incredible here. They really looked after me so, so well here and delivered every single day. I am so happy and proud I can bring it home again for the team again. We’ve won Tour of Qatar six times, and I don’t know how many stages, so I am happy to be a part of that.”

BMC’s Reactions

Taylor Phinney of BMC said afterwards said a “game of chess” played out in the last 116 kilometres of the race. “Team Sky was trying to control things to move Bernhard Eisel up on the GC (general classification),” Phinney added. “In the first intermediate sprint, I gave it my all to come around him in the bonus sprint. You don’t see people normally sprinting like that in the middle of a stage. We did a great job as a team to neutralize any damage Sky was trying to do to us on GC.”

Phinney won the best young rider title – the first jersey classification of his professional career – and the BMC Racing Team captured the team title on the strength of winning Monday’s opening stage (Bookwalter) and the Stage 2 team time trial.

“The team time trial was our proudest moment,” BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Jackson Stewart said. “To put everything together on that day was really great.” In addition to the aforementioned riders, Steve Cummings, Yannick Eijssen and Larry Warbasse were members of the winning team. The team classification was the BMC Racing Team’s second in that category this season, adding to one won at the Tour de San Luis last month.

Bookwalter said the eight riders in Qatar set some big goals but easily surpassed their own expectations. “The squad we had here probably would not have been picked for the kind of success we had this week,” he said. “So it’s a good testament to believing in each other and working hard together. With that kind of attitude so much can happen.”

Stage Result
1. Mark Cavendish, Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
2. Yauheni Hutarovich, Ag2r La Mondiale
3. Barry Markus, Vacansoleil – Dcm
4. Adam Blythe, Bmc Racing Team
5. Taylor Phinney, Bmc Racing Team
6. Kenny Van Hummel, Vacansoleil – Dcm
7. Alexander Kristoff, Katusha Team
8. Bernie Eisel, Sky Procycling
9. Nacer Bouhanni, Equipe Cycliste Fdj
10. Guillaume Boivin, Cannondale Pro Cycling Team

14 BRAMMEIER Matthew Champion System Pro Cycling Team
17 DOWNING Russell Team NetApp – Endura
50 ROWE Luke Sky Procycling
55 STANNARD Ian Sky Procycling
63 THOMAS Geraint Sky Procycling
78 DEMPSTER Zakkari Team NetApp – Endura
122 VOSS Paul Team NetApp – Endura
130 CUMMINGS Stephen BMC Racing Team

1. Mark Cavendish, Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
2. Brent Bookwalter, Bmc Racing Team
3. Taylor Phinney, Bmc Racing Team
4. Adam Blythe, Bmc Racing Team
5. Bernie Eisel, Sky Procycling
6. Greg Van Avermaet, Bmc Racing Team
7. Michael Schar, Bmc Racing Team
8. Edvald Boasson Hagen, Sky Procycling
9. Luke Rowe, Sky Procycling
10. Geraint Thomas, Sky Procycling


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