Mark Cavendish reveals he sprinted to victory on stage two at the Tour of Turkey with a flat tyre, having felt the puncture about five kilometres out.
The Manxman held off Lampre-Merida’s Sacha Modolo on the line in Antalya for his second win in as many stages to retain the leader’s jersey.
Cavendish admits he thought about stopping for a new wheel, but with the battle for position in the final few kilometres he worried he would leave his Etixx-Quick-Step team in trouble.
"At a corner with about five kilometers to go my wheel went from me and I thought to myself 'that's not good' as I lost my balance," Cavendish said.
"The wheel was spongy. It wasn't totally flat but it was a slow leaking puncture. I thought about stopping to get a new wheel, but we were already on our third guy of the train.
“If I stopped, we were one man short for Mark Renshaw. So I thought I'd give it a crack. I went easy for the final corners. I had confidence in my teammates. If they kept me in the front on the corners I'd be okay, and they did just that.”
One of Cavendish’s lead-out men in Turkey is Tom Boonen, who is getting himself back to full fitness after separating his shoulder at Paris-Nice.
But the Belgian admits he’s not necessarily the best man to have in the train, with his raw power sometimes seeing him pushing the pace too hard.
“It's my job to bring in contention Renshaw and Cavendish,” he said. “Sometimes they call I have to go a bit slower, but that's normal. I'm actually too explosive for this work.”
Tuesday’s mountain stage means Cavendish will have to work hard to hold on to his leader’s jersey for a third day, but the Etixx man will have a few more opportunities for stage wins as the eight-stage race progresses.
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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.
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