Cavendish claims back-to-back stage wins to take overall lead in Tour of Qatar
14:54 GMT, 6 February 2013
16:05 GMT, 6 February 2013
British racer Mark Cavendish today claimed back-to-back stage wins and the overall lead at the Tour of Qatar.
The Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider won the 160km route from Camel Race Track to Al Khor Corniche, which is the longest of the race.
Stage success: Mark Cavendish on the podium after claiming a second consecutive stage win on the Tour of Qatar
Yellow jersey: The win today, on the longest stage of the event from Camel Race Track to Al Khor Corniche, earned Cavendish the overall lead
The 27-year-old from the Isle of Man, who quit Team Sky late last year, beat Holland's Barry Markus and Italian Andrea Guardini in the battle of the sprinters to claim the Golden Jersey after the peloton reeled in the leading breakaway group by 146kms.
Cavendish stayed clear of a crash in the closing stages to cross ahead of Vacansoleil-Dcm racer Markus with Astana Pro Team's Guardini in third.
Number One: Cavendish, of the Omega Pharma-Quick Step team, celebrates crossing the finish line in first
Delighted: The stage wins have left Cavendish well placed to win the event overall
The victory, and the accompanying 10-second time bonus, saw Cavendish take the overall lead by two seconds from American Brent Bookwalter of BMC Racing.
The fifth stage of the Tour of Qatar runs over 154km from Al Zubara Fort to Madinat Al Shamal.
Cavendish felt his results in Qatar back up the decision to part company with Team Sky, who helped drive Bradley Wiggins on to success at the Tour de France.
'I am really, really happy right now. Three wins already, shows me, and shows [team manager] Patrick Lefevere, that I made the right move to Omega Pharma-Quick-Step,' Cavendish said.
'I get along really well with the guys already, and we have a good ambience with the team. I hope this can continue and we can keep getting good results this year.'