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After an early season drought, Cavendish returns to his winning ways. | Graham Watson photo

MUSCAT, Oman (AFP) – HTC-Highroad’s Mark Cavendish scored a sprint victory in the final stage of the 2011 Tour of Oman, beating Katusha’s Denis Galimzyanov and Andrea Guardini, Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli to the line.

Rabobank’s Robert Gesink finished in the main field, easily protecting his comfortable 1:13 lead on general classifications to take the overall title.

Cavendish grabbed his first win of 2011 in typical style, powering across the line and easily out-sprinting Galimzyanov and Guardini at the end of a 157km stage from Qurayat to Mattrah.

Cavendish’s win was also HTC-Highroad’s second victory at this year’s Tour of Oman, after teammate Matthew Goss took Stage 2 and kept the leader’s jersey for two days.

“Everyone tries to go for the win in races like this so it’s a bit hectic,” Cavendish said, “but it was great, I had
[team-mates] Hayden Roulston and Matt Goss looking after me in the finish, and they did a good job holding onto me and I did a good job holding onto them all the way through.”

“Goss went at the end, I left a gap then went for it myself. It was difficult with the wind, but it all worked perfectly.”

“It’s always good to get the first victory of the year, too, it didn’t work out the other day but now I’ve got it and I’m happy.”

Gesink started the day with a comfortable lead over Sky’s Edvald Boasson Hagen and rode conservatively to protect his grip on the overall standings.

Stage 6 Results

  • 1. Mark Cavendish, HTC-Highroad, in 3:39:58
  • 2. Denis Galimzyanov, Katusha, same time
  • 3. Andrea Guardini, Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli, s.t.
  • 4. Matteo Pelucchi, Geox-TMC, s.t.
  • 5. Francesco Chicchi, Quick Step, s.t.
  • 6. Thor Hushovd, Garmin-Cervelo, s.t.
  • 7. Pieter Ghyllebert, An Post-Sean Kelly, s.t.
  • 8. Nacer Bouhanni, FdJ, s.t.
  • 9. Stijn Neirynck, Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator, s.t.
  • 10. Théo Bos, Rabobank, s.t.

Full Results

Final Overall Standings

  • 1. Robert Gesink, Rabobank, in 20:24:36
  • 2. Edvald Boasson Hagen, Sky, at 1:13
  • 3. Giovanni Visconti, Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli, at 1:19
  • 4. Michael Albasini, HTC-Highroad, at 1:52
  • 5. Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Cervelo, at 2:04
  • 6. Fabian Cancellara, Leopard-Trek, at 2:11
  • 7. Dries Devenyns, Quick Step, at 2:13
  • 8. Maxime Monfort, Leopard-Trek, at 2:19
  • 9. Patrik Sinkewitz, Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli, at 2:51
  • 10. Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni, Sky, at 3:03

Full Results