Mark Cavendish won his second stage in Qatar today, beating the rest of the field by several bike lengths.
Having already won stage four on Wednesday, Cavendish confirmed he’s the fastest man in the world by bursting out of the front of a chaotic peloton to take his second win of the season.
?I knew could perform well here, Qatar?s always a race where experience counts for a lot so taking two stages means I?m really happy,? Cavendish told Cycling Weekly.
?It was a fast race, but my team led me out perfectly and we were the only guys to pull right the way from the beginning to the end.?
Cavendish had initially played a cautious game, saying he did not sit at the back of the bunch in the first of the seven laps around Doha Corniche, ?because it was windy and I didn?t want to get caught on the wrong side of a split.?
?They tried to jump us at the last corner, but everybody in my team kept their cool. Really you can?t be happier winning like this.?
Cavendish dedicated his win to Belgian rider Frederiek Nolf, who died on Thursday night during the Tour of Qatar. ?I want to dedicate this victory to him and to his family,? he said after the stage.
“We stayed at the front for most of the stage, but we all got swamped,” Cavendish told Eurosport.
“All the other teams were well organised but the lads kept cool heads and integrated themselves in to the other teams. They lead me out perfectly and allowed me to do what I normally do.”
With a 20 second time bonus on each stage, Cavendish and his Columbia team had travelled to Qatar with the overall classification in the back of their minds, but after missing out on the first road stage and losing two minutes they had to refocus. “I’m happy with two stage wins,” he admitted. “I think everyone who won a stage was a deserving winner.”
Cav’s win rounded off a fantastic race for the British contingent in the event as he took the fourth stage win for the Brits. “If you’d have said five years ago that this would happen, no one would have believed you, but we’ve all got teams that accept us as British riders,” Cavendish said.
The overall classification also demonstrated the early season form of the Brit Pack, as Roger Hammond finished in third place overall, Daniel Lloyd fourth and Cavendish ninth. The overall win went to Tom Boonen for a third time in four years.
WIth just seconds separating the top riders on gc, Boonen could never be completely sure of victory until he crossed the final line.
But as Hammond told Cycling Weekly afterwards, it would have been mission impossible to try and topple the Quick Step rider on a final stage which was seemingly made for a bunch sprint.
?It was never going to be,? Hammond said. ?What we had to do today was win the stage and on an easy stage like today Cav?s always hard to beat.?
?Really we lost the race two days ago. When we had Boonen isolated two days ago, we should have nailed him then.?
Hammond now heads for the Tour of the Algarve on February 18th, whilst Cavendish and Boonen will meet again next weekend at the Tour of California. To judge from Qatar Boonen and Hammond are looking good for the spring classics, whilst Cavendish is once again the man to beat in the bunch sprints.
With another pro win to his name, how close is Cavendish to becoming the British rider with the most wins ever? Find out with Cycling Weekly’s all-time list of British pro winners.
Stage six:Sealine Beach Resort – Doha Corniche 121km
1 Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) Columbia-High Road
2 Robert Forster (Germany) Milram
3 Heinrich Haussler (Germany) Cervélo
4 Hans Dekkers (Holland) Garmin
5 Francesco Chicchi (Italy) Liquigas
6 Danilo Napolitano (Italy) Katusha
7 Angelo Furlan (Italy) Lampre
8 Kenny Van Hummel (Holland) Skil-Shimano
9 Roy Sentjens (Belgium) Silence-Lotto
10 Tom Boonen (Belgium) Quick Step
18 Roger Hammond (Great Britain) Cervélo
19 Daniel Lloyd (Great Britain) Cervélo all same time
85 Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain) Garmin at 31sec
88 Jeremy Hunt (Great Britain) Cervélo at same time
112 Ben Swift (Great Britain) Katusha at 2min18sec
Final overall standings
1 Tom Boonen (Belgium) Quick Step
2 Heinrich Haussler (Germany) Cervélo at 8sec
3 Roger Hammond (Great Britain) Cervélo at 10sec
4 Daniel Lloyd (Great Britain) Cervélo at 25sec
5 Andreas Klier (Germany) Cervélo at 27sec
6 Xavier Florencio (Spain) Cervélo at 28sec
7 Angelo Furlan (Italy) Lampre at 1min 07sec
8 Gabriel Rasch (Norway) Cervélo at 1min 43sec
9 Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) Columbia-Highroad at 2min 11sec
10 Tom Veelers (Holland) Skil-Shimano at 2min 35sec
16 Jeremy Hunt (Great Britain) Cervélo at 3min 50sec
87 Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain) at 27min 44sec
105 Ben Swift (Great Britain) Katusha at 39min 25sec.
Mark Cavendish wins stage six
Tom Boonen seals the overall
Peloton rides in Qatar to honour dead colleague
Sombre reaction after rider’s death in Qatar
Cavendish takes first triumph of season in Qatar
Tour of Qatar: Boonen takes stage three
Tour of Qatar: Hammond takes first win in three years
Wiggins leads Qatar after Garmin take opening team time trial
Cavendish and Boonen go head to head in the desert