MARK Cavendish sealed a rare general classification win by storming to victory in the final stage of this year’s Tour of Qatar on Friday afternoon.
As a sprinter, Cavendish is not usually a contender for GC victories but the Manx Missile has been in scintllating for his new Omega Pharma Quick-Step team this week, winning four out of the six stages (one of the six being a time trial) to brush aside his rivals.
After producing a typically explosive finish to seal victory at the end of Tuesday’s stage from Al Wakra to Mesaieed ahead of Barry Markus (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team) and Orica GreenEdge rider Aidis Kruopis, it was a similar story at the end of Wednesday’s stage, from Camel Race Track to Al Khor Corniche, when the same two riders occupied the top two steps of the podium.
And the Manxman was at it again on Thursday. After winning an intermediate sprint earlier on in the Al Zubara Fort to Madinat Al Shamal stage, his Quick-Step team delivered him perfectly to the finish where he surged clear of Yauheni Hutarovich and Aidis Kruopis to claim victory.
That left Cav 15 seconds clear and in a strong position to successfully hold on to the leader’s gold jersey with Friday’s stage being a relatively short 116km on from Sealine Beach Resort to Doha Corniche.
Quick-Step made their intentions clear from the start as they pulled out all the stops in order to protect their star man and, despite the best efforts of Team Sky and Argos-Simano, the Manxman delivered another superb sprint to clinch the stage victory and the overall win on general classification.
The victory was his second general classification win of his professional career after he also won the Ster ZLM Toer GP in the Netherlands last year
Cav’s next tour is due to be the Volta ao Algarve which begins this Monday, February 11 and continues until Feb 17.
More on Cav’s GC win in Monday’s Isle of Man Examiner.