Cavendish kicks-off season with top 3 finish in Oman
Mark Cavendish returned to the Tour of Oman for the first time in six years and came close to clinching his second win there, after the one he took back in 2011. Winner of four stages and the green jersey at last year’s Tour de France, Mark made his season debut Thursday morning and showed a lot of grit as he battled for victory at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre in Muscat.
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl was among the teams who controlled the three-man breakaway, reeling in the last member of that group with ten kilometers to go, and placed Cavendish close to the front of the bunch, making sure he went under the flamme rouge in the first five positions.
Opening his sprint with 150 meters to go, the 36-year-old showed an impressive burst of speed which allowed him to make up ground quickly, but unfortunately ran out of road and had to settle for second, just behind Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates), a result that left him with mixed feelings.
“Coming into the first race of a new season, you are never sure about form and it was good to get the feeling of racing back in my legs. I felt good throughout the stage and the speed was good at the end, but I was just in the wrong position which meant I had to come around the outside and catching Fernando was just that bit too much. But I am confident that I have some good form and we have a group that have not raced together, so we will look to build on it in the coming days. I’m just happy to be in the mix after just six weeks of training, following my collapsed lung”, said Cavendish after his 85th top 3 for the Wolfpack.
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