Manxman Mark Cavendish takes his first win of 2016 for Dimension Data to lead the Tour of Qatar
- Photos by Yuzuru Sunada

Mark Cavendish took his first win with the Dimension Data team on a typically windswept course at the Tour of Qatar today.

The Manxman rode his way into the leader’s gold jersey, taking not only the victory, but also gaining vital seconds with a first and second at the intermediate sprints.

The race began on the West coast of the Gulf state at the town of Dukhan, crossing to the other side of the country to finish at the Al Khor Corniche, 176 kilometres later.

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The entire race was high paced, the peloton remaining together for the first 38km, until they changed direction off the main dual-carriageway. Here, increasing crosswinds split the peloton first into two parts, then subsequently further, until a group of only 21 riders remained, eventually opening the gap to around one minute 20 seconds.

Mark Cavendish on stage one of the 2016 Tour of Qatar

Mark Cavendish on stage one of the 2016 Tour of Qatar

This group, which contained a number of the pre-race favourites, including Alexander Kristoff  (Katusha) and Greg van Avermaet (BMC), both accompanied by three team mates.

Cavendish had Edvald Boasson Hagen and Tyler Farrar with him, though the American was forced to work hard after puncturing with around 65km to ride. Despite this, the group eventually built a lead of around one minute 20 seconds.

That gap was reduced and hovered around one minute for a significant distance, though success was not guaranteed when the chasing group brought it down below 50 seconds with only 10 kilometres left.

However, as the line approached, the break gained momentum under pressure from the BMC team, though it was Katusha who lead the group into the finishing straight.

Mark Cavendish wins stage one of the 2016 Tour of Qatar

Mark Cavendish takes the early lead after winning stage one of the 2016 Tour of Qatar

Results

Tour of Qatar 2016, stage one: Dukhan to Al Khor Corniche, 176km
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data
2. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida
3. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana
4. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Argon 18
5. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha
6. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data
7. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing
8. Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing
9. Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Fortuneo-Vital Concept
10. Soren Kragh Andersen (Den) Giant-Alpecin all same time

General classification after stage one
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data
2. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 8 secs
3. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana at 11 secs
4. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha at 12 secs
5. Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Katusha at 13 secs
6. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing at 14 secs
7. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Argon 18 at 15 secs
8. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data at 15 secs
9. Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing at 15 secs
10. Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Fortuneo-Vital Concept at 15 secs