Winner of his fourth consecutive stage on the Doha Corniche, Mark Cavendish conquered his very first Tour of Qatar. On the sixth and final stage of the event, the Brit first witnessed a big fright when he hit the ground after just a few kilometres. Unhurt, he then flew to glory when he outsprinted Hutarovich and Markus to the line. Cav wins the GC ahead of Bookwalter and Phinney. A fine way to start the season for the Manx Missile.
Stage 5: Sealine Beach Resort – Doha Corniche, 116.5kms
136 riders at the start: Sunny, light wind
At the start of the sixth and final stage of the 2013 Tour of Qatar, at the Sealine Beach Resort, Golden Jersey Mark Cavendish (OPQ) could enjoy a 15” lead over his closest rival Brent Bookwalter (BMC). Enough to serenely consider a first overall success in Qatar. But what the Brit hadn’t expected was the fall he was to suffer as soon as km 8 when he hit the ground as well as Bookwalter. A big fright without big consequences as he was able to hop back on his bike unhurt and returned to the pack well helped out by his Omega Pharma Quickstep team mates.
Despite several attempts, the pack remained bunched all the way to the first intermediate sprint (at Al Wakra, km 38.5) won by Phinney (BMC) ahead of Eisel (SKY) and Van Keirsbulck (OPQ). At km 40, the first real breakaway occurred as five men took off: Popovych (RLT), Boucher (FDJ), Kreder (‘VCD), Isaichev (KAT) and Friedemann. But despite having a 20” lead, they were gobbled up by the pack just two kilometres later. Team Omega Pharma Quickstep remained in the front positions of the pack, preventing any kind of attack. Once on the final circuit, the pack stayed bunched during the entire 10 laps to be covered. The second bonus sprint at the fourth crossing of the line (km 74.5) was claimed by attacking Van Avermaet (BMC) ahead of his team mates Blythe and Phinney.
The stage was to end with a bunched sprint. Well led out by his team mates, Mark Cavendish claimed his fourth consecutive win, beating Hutarovich (ALM) and Markus (VCD) to the line. The Brit now has 8 stage victories in Qatar under the belt, far however from his new team mate and record holder Tom Boonen with 20.
A year after Boonen, Cavendish wins the Tour of Qatar GC, for the first time in his career. In the final overall standings the Brit has a 25” lead over Bookwalter and 26” over Taylor Phinney who finishes best young rider of the event (White Pearl jersey). “Cav” also wins the points’ classification (Silver jersey) and the Qatar Airways Excellency jersey.