Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) won his fourth consecutive stage at the Tour of Qatar on Friday to lock up the overall title.
Cavendish was victorious in the bunch sprint in Doha Corniche to close out stage 6 of the six-day tour. The “Manx Missile” shot out of the left side of the field late to outkick Yauheni Hutarovich (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Barry Markus (Vacansoleil-DCM).
“It was a lot like [stage 4 at Al Khor Corniche]. The wind was coming on the right. I knew the gap was going to open on the left. I won here in 2009 with the same kind of tactic,” said Cavendish. “I knew it was going to go right, so I just left it late and moved up on the left.”
Cavendish and the race’s first leader, Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing), crashed 15km into Friday’s stage, but neither suffered serious injury.
“I was on Brent Bookwalter’s wheel and he just went down. No one knew what happened,” said Cavendish. “That’s bike racing; sometimes it happens.”
Bookwalter finished safely in the bunch and was second overall, at 25 seconds. Cavendish distanced the American over the final three days of racing with 10-second time bonuses in the finish sprints. BMC Racing’s Taylor Phinney was third, at 26 seconds.
“I’m really happy. The guys worked incredibly here. I’m the new guy and they just looked after me so well,” said Cavendish. “I’m just happy I can bring this back to the team.”