MARK Cavendish enjoyed a winning debut for his new team, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, in the opening stage of the Tour de San Luis in Argentina on Monday.
The Manx Missile made the switch to the Belgium-based outfit following a year at Team Sky and delivered the perfect start to life at his new team by producing a trademark sprint finish.
On a flat 164km route from San Luis to Villa Mercedes, Cav’s new team reeled in a seven-man breakaway to deliver the Manxman to the finish where he broke clear 200m from the line and held off Sacha Modolo (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox) and Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Merida) to seize victory and the overall lead.
Speaking after the race, Cavendish said: ‘The team did a great job for me today. We were the first team to start riding, with Martin Velits at the beginning, we were present at the front the whole day. We got help from other teams too, the sprinter teams, but the guys just rode so strong and stayed with me the whole day.
‘It is so nice to have a team with me that is 100 per cent committed. I’m so, so proud of the guys today.’
The Tour de San Luis continues with another flat stage today (Tuesday).