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Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) extended his overall lead with a stage 5 win at the Tour of Qatar on Thursday in Madinat Al Shamal.
Yauheni Hutarovich (Ag2r La Mondiale) was second. Aidis Kruopis (Orica-GreenEdge) was third.
Cavendish came off teammate Niki Terpstra’s wheel late and held off a hard-charging Hutarovich by less than a wheel at the line.
“We knew it was going to be stressful today,” said Cavendish. “In the final we kept together. Some other teams took it over, I think they had confidence from the last few days.”
The “Manx Missile” leads Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing) by 15 seconds in the general classification. Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) is third, at 20 seconds. With just one day remaining and Cavendish on a three-stage streak, his overall title appears almost certain, should he make it to the finish unscathed on Friday.
“I hope so,” he said. “We knew if we got through today, then it would be easy.”
The Tour of Qatar concludes Friday with the 116km sixth stage from Sealine Beach Resort to Doha Corniche.