Cycling: Mark Cavendish all but certain of taking Tour of Qatar title
British rider wins third stage in a row to extend overall lead
Mark Cavendish came through the trickiest stage of the Tour of Qatar today with flying colors , capturing yet another victory - his third in three days and fourth of 2013 - and a landmark overall win all but certain tomorrow.
With frequent changes of direction on the exposed, flat 154 kilometre trek across north-west Qatar, the often-repeated stage from Al Zubara Fort to Madinat Al Shamal has often seen the peloton shatter in strong cross-winds in the past and the race leader put at risk.
But the winds stayed calm and instead Cavendish, strongly supported by team-mate Niki Terpstra, made a triumphant late charge for the line, with bonus seconds for the victory helping lift his overall lead margin from 2 seconds to a much solider advantage of 15.
“This stage is the always the most unpredictable one,” Cavendish said afterwards, “but I knew if we could get through this then we’re in with a very good chance of winning the race outright.”
“The guys [Omega Pharma-Quick Step team-mates] rode perfectly, they led me into every corner perfectly and finally they gave me a leadout which was perfect, as though they’ve been doing it for years.”
In what is now his most successful opening to the season in seven years as a professional, and which reconfirms he is settling in well into his new Omega Pharma Quick Step team, Cavendish should - barring last-minute disaster - be crowned as the Tour of Qatar winner tomorrow at the end of a straightforward stage to Doha’s Corniche.
Just finishing in the main pack would be enough to secure him his second ever overall victory in a stage race, and Cavendish will not have forgotten he suffered a nasty crash on Qatar’s final stage last year when he was brought down by clumsily manoeuvring rivals just 125 metres from the finish.
Given his run of success so far, though, and impressive form, fighting for one last victory in Qatar - and his fourth in a row - seems much more likely.
Latest in Sport
QPR vs Arsenal match report: Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez on the scoresheet for the Gunners
Newcastle 0 Manchester United 1: Louis van Gaal describes performance as 'maybe our best match of the season'
Cristiano Ronaldo: Real Madrid superstar 'sends his hair stylist to look after his waxwork once a month'
Newcastle vs Manchester United match report: Ashley Young scores late winner as Angel Di Maria fails to shine yet again
Arsenal's Gabriel suffers 36th-minute hamstring injury and is subbed off...Twitter reacts
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
- 3 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 4 African jawbone discovery pushes birth of humanity back by 400,000 years
- 5 The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin
£12047 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Part Time Payroll Officer required for t...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established early...
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Central London based firm loo...