Mark Cavendish secures first win for Team Dimension Data

Manx Missile sprints to stage one victory at the Tour of Qatar

Mark Cavendish sprinted to his first victory of the 2016 season on stage one of the Tour of Qatar to take an early lead overall.

After missing out at the Dubai Tour, where his replacement at Etixx-QuickStep, Marcel Kittel, won two stages and took overall victory, Cavendish stormed back to win his first race in Team Dimension Data colours.

Mark Cavendish celebrates his first stage win in Team Dimension Data colours (pic: ©QCF/Paumer/Kåre Dehlie Thorstad)

With crosswinds vastly reducing the size of the front group, Cavendish and defending champion Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) were clear favourites for the stage.

But where Kristoff lacked speed, Cavendish – who had two lead-out men the front side of the split in Edvald Boasson Hagen and Tyler Farrar – powered to a comprehensive victory.

It means the Manxman, who won the race overall on his last outing in 2013, will wear the leader’s jersey on stage two, with Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) and Andrea Guardini (Astana) taking second and third on the day.

Cavendish had earlier picked up bonus seconds at both the intermediate sprints, finishing second to Kristoff at the first one before winning the second.

Both were buoyed by the lightning-fast start to the day’s stage which saw the peloton fracture and a 21-man group go clear – their advantage stretching out towards the minute mark and holding steady.

The pace stayed high, though a puncture for Farrar proved only a slight blip as the American rejoined Cavendish and Boasson Hagen in the front group.

Some riders did find the pace too hot to handle, however, with BMC Racing and Team Katusha in particular driving a fierce pace as the crosswinds became headwinds.

Katusha delivered Kristoff in pole position but the Norwegian could not up the tempo as he looked to lead out the sprint.

Instead it was Cavendish who kicked hardest, and the Manx Missile will swap Dimension Data’s white-and-black kit for the gold jersey on stage two.

Tour of Qatar 2016: stage one – result

1) Mark Cavendish (GBR) – Team Dimension Data – 3.28.46hrs
2) Sacha Modolo (ITA) – Lampre-Merida – ST
3) Andrea Guardini (ITA) – Astana
4) Sam Bennett (IRL) – Bora-Argon 18
5) Alexander Kristoff (NOR) – Katusha
6) Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) – Team Dimension Data
7) Greg van Avermaet (BEL) – BMC Racing
8) Manuel Quinziato (ITA) – BMC Racing
9) Arnaud Gerard (FRA) – Fortuneo-Vital Concept
10) Soren Kragh Andersen (DEN) – Giant-Alpecin

General classification

1) Mark Cavendish (GBR) – Team Dimension Data – 3.28.31hrs
2) Sacha Modolo (ITA) – Lampre-Merida +8”
3) Andrea Guardini (ITA) – Astana +11”
4) Alexander Kristoff (NOR) – Katusha +12”
5) Viacheslav Kuznetsov (RUS) – Katusha +13”
6) Greg van Avermaet (BEL) – BMC Racing +14”
7) Sam Bennett (IRL) – Bora-Argon 18 +15”
8) Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) – Team Dimension Data – ST
9) Manuel Quinziato (ITA) – BMC Racing
10) Arnaud Gerard (FRA) – Fortuneo Vital Concept

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