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Mark Cavendish wins Tour of Qatar

Manxman misses out in final sprint but seals overall victory

Mark Cavendish (Team Dimension Data) won the Tour of Qatar for the second time in his career, despite Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) edging him out in a photo finish on the final stage.

After storming to victory on stage one, Cavendish was unable to add another sprint victory to his name, with Kristoff twice beating him in a photo finish.

But the Manx Missile, after returning to the overall lead when stage three time trial winner and team-mate Edvald Boasson Hagen suffered a late puncture on stage four, did enough to defend his overall lead and claim the gold jersey.

Mark Cavendish defended his overall lead on the final stage, despite missing out in a photo finish (pic: ASO)

Kristoff finished the race with three sprint victories, to Cavendish’s one, but it’s Britain’s former world champion taking home the leader’s jersey for the second time, having first won the race in 2013.

The final stage started with Cavendish defending a two-second overall lead from BMC Racing’s Greg van Avermaet and the Belgian’s team were active throughout the race.

A strong tailwind ensured the race started at a rapid pace, and Steven Tronet (Fortuneo-Vital Concept), Jesse Sergent (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Tom DeClercq (Topsport-Vlaanderen) formed the day’s break.

Their gap was allowed to grow out to two-and-a-half minutes, but BMC Racing, Team Dimension Data and Katusha all worked to keep the move in check.

With 20km remaining, the peloton was already fast closing in and the catch was made with 11km still to race.

A sprint finish having become inevitable, all eyes were on Cavendish, van Avermaet and Kristoff and BMC Racing hit the front first.

The pace proved too much for any late attacks – though it wasn’t for lack of trying – and Katusha took over the lead inside the final two kilometres.

Kristoff was tucked nicely into the wheels of his team’s sprint train, while Cavendish – led out by Mark Renshaw – had to come from further back.

As the Norwegian opened up his sprint, however, Cavendish was right on his wheel and powered up alongside him as the finish line approached.

Ultimately the Manxman ran out of road, leaving Kristoff to celebrate another perfectly-timed sprint – right to the final split-second – but Cavendish’s consolation was the gold jersey.

Kristoff finished second overall, five second behind but winner of the point’s jersey, while Van Avermaet had to settle for third overall.

Tour of Qatar 2016: stage five – result

1) Alexander Kristoff (NOR) – Katusha – 2.56.16hrs
2) Mark Cavendish (GBR) – Dimension Data – ST
3) Roy Jans (BEL) – Wanty-Groupe Gobert
4) Yauheni Hutarovich (BLR) – Fortuneo-Vital Concept
5) Sacha Modolo (ITA) – Lampre-Merida
6) Sam Bennett (IRL) – Bora-Argon 18
7) Moreno Hofland (NED) – LottoNL-Jumbo
8) Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) – Dimension Data
9) Andre Looij (NED) – Roompot-Oranje Peloton
10) Marco Canola (ITA) – UnitedHealthCare

General classification

1) Mark Cavendish (GBR) – Dimension Data – 13.47.23hrs
2) Alexander Kristoff (NOR) – Katusha +5”
3) Greg van Avermaet (BEL) – BMC Racing +8”
4) Manuel Quinziato (ITA) – BMC Racing +12”
5) Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) – Dimension Data +25”
6) Soren Kragh Andersen (DEN) – Giant-Alpecin +36”
7) Sam Bennett (IRL) – Bora-Argon 18 +47”
8) Sven Erik Bystrom (NOR) – Katusha +55”
9) Viacheslav Kuznetsov (RUS) – Katusha +56”
10) Michael Schar (SUI) – BMC Racing +1.04

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