Double joy for Cavendish
Just twenty-four hours after opening his season by taking a close second on day one of the Tour of Oman, Mark Cavendish went one place better and recorded his 157th pro victory courtesy of a perfectly-timed sprint in Sutrah Corniche, where Friday’s 167.5km stage concluded.
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl was again prominent, playing an important role in controlling the gap of the two escapees and bringing them back inside the final hour of racing, as well as nullifying a late attack that came with around 25 kilometers to go. The Wolfpack continued to drill the pace in the closing kilometers as things began heating up, putting in long turns and expertly navigating a short technical part before the long finishing straight.
Then neo-pro Stan Van Tricht hit the front and devoted all his energies to working for Cavendish, who kicked out with around 300 meters to go and produced a stunning recovery and a dominant sprint, coming around his opponents 100 meters from the line on the right side of the road and comfortably beating Kaden Groves (BikeExchange-Jayco) and Amaury Capiot (Arkea-Samsic). The victory – his 55th for Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl – and the ten bonus seconds it carried moved Mark to the top of the general classification.
“I was looking forward to this sprint, as it was similar to a Tour de France one, with a long finishing straight of over one kilometer. Everyone on the team was committed and did a great job, and coming into the stage I had a lot of confidence from yesterday’s good work. When the sprint started, I was a bit far back, but I had a good speed and I am happy with the way things panned out. It’s been only a few weeks since I returned on my bike following that crash on the track, so I am quite satisfied with my form. To take a win so early in the season it’s always important and we hope to get some more nice results before the Tour of Oman ends”, said the Manxman, who in addition to the overall, also leads the points classification.
Photo credit: ©Dario Belingheri / Getty Images