A day after he turned 22, British fastman Mark Cavendish blasted to yet another convincing victory – on this occasion in stage two?s tricky uphill sprint finish at Perafort in the Tour of Catalonia.
In a year in which the T-Mobile pro is going from strength to strength, this was Cavendish?s fourth professional win and first in the ProTour category.
Arguably it was his most difficult to date, too: the final kilometre into the tiny village of Perafort contained a number of wide downhill hairpin bends which lined out the bunch.
?it was tricky but I moved into the right place, about fifth from the front, and then it was a question of hanging on and hanging on ‘cos we started climbing again for the last 500 metres.? Cavendish told CW?s website.
?I knew it was a tough uphill so I didn?t want to go too early, and finally I jumped 50 metres from the line.?
Second behind the Briton was Australian Aaron Kemps – whom Cavendish slated for ?trying to switch me when he knows I?m faster than him and I?m going to get past him.? – and third Colombian Leonardo Duque.
At the finish, Cavendish was given his winner?s trophy by Tour de France boss Christian Prudhomme, present as a guest on the race. The Briton is now also the leader of the points competition. Overall Spaniard Imanol Erviti leads.
Cavendish also made afterwards a point of thanking his British U-23 coach Rod Ellingworth for ?teaching me how to get results through hard work and sacrifice.?
Whilst tomorrow?s stage from Perafort to Tarrega may be too hilly for Cavendish and on Thursday the race hits the Pyrenees, he already has his eye on Saturday?s stage to Lloret de Mar. ?That?s the other one I think I can win, even though I came here to get more experience about climbing.?
Asked yet again about the Tour, Cavendish responded that he thought he was ?still too young. It?s a pity, especially with it starting in London this year, but it?ll have to wait for now.?
TOUR OF CATALONIA: STAGE TWO RESULTS
1 Mark Cavendish (GB) T-Mobile 158kms in 4-01-47
2 Aaron Kemps (Aus) Astana
3 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis
4 Baden Cooke (Aus) Unibet.com
5 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
6 Dani Moreno (Spa) Relax-Gam
7 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) T-Mobile
8 William Bonnet (Fra) Credit Agricole
9 Allan Davis (Aus) Discovery Channel
10 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Ag2R
132 Brad Wiggins (GB) Cofidis
158 David Millar (GB) Saunier Duval-Prodir all st.
OVERALL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE TWO
1 Imanol Erviti (Spa) Caisse D?Epargne
2 Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Spa) Caisse D?Epargne at 1sec
3 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Caisse D?Epargne
4 Nicolas Portal (Fra) Caisse D?Epargne
5 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Caisse D?Epargne
6 Florent Brard (Fra) Caisse D?Epargne all st
7 Nicki Sorensen (Den) CSC at 17sec
8 Stuart O?Grady (Aus) CSC
9 Christian Vandelvelde (USA) CSC
10 Inigo Cuesta (Spa) CSC all st
22 Bradley Wiggins (GB) Cofidis at 24sec
76 Mark Cavendish (GB) T-Mobile at 41sec
131 David Millar (Saunier Duval-Prodir) at 51sec