Mark Cavendish took the sixth stage of the 2013 Tor of Qatar and the overall race win.
BMC and OPQS reflect on their Tour performance….
The BMC Racing Team capped off the Tour of Qatar Friday with two riders in the top five on the final stage, two on the final podium, the best young rider jersey and victory in the team classification.
Final Stage Fireworks
Adam Blythe and Taylor Phinney finished fourth and fifth, respectively, on the last stage while teammate Brent Brookwalter placed second overall and Phinney was third overall behind race winner Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), who won his fourth straight stage. The 40 seconds Cavendish earned in time bonuses placed him 25 seconds ahead of Bookwalter and 26 seconds ahead of Phinney in the final standings that included five BMC Racing Team riders in the top 10: Blythe was fourth, Greg Van Avermaet was sixth and Michael Schär was seventh. Phinney said a “game of chess” played out in the last 116 kilometers of the race. “Team Sky was trying to control things to move Bernhard Eisel up on the GC (general classification),” Phinney said. “In the first intermediate sprint, I gave it my all to come around him in the bonus sprint. You don’t see people normally sprinting like that in the middle of a stage. We did a great job as a team to neutralize any damage Sky was trying to do to us on GC.”
Testament To Teamwork
Phinney won the best young rider title – the first jersey classification of his professional career – and the BMC Racing Team captured the team title on the strength of winning Monday’s opening stage (Bookwalter) and the Stage 2 team time trial. “The team time trial was our proudest moment,” BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Jackson Stewart said. “To put everything together on that day was really great.” In addition to the aforementioned riders, Steve Cummings, Yannick Eijssen and Larry Warbasse were members of the winning team. The team classification was the BMC Racing Team’s second in that category this season, adding to one won at the Tour de San Luis last month. Bookwalter said the eight riders in Qatar set some big goals but easily surpassed their own expectations. “The squad we had here probably would not have been picked for the kind of success we had this week,” he said. “So it’s a good testament to believing in each other and working hard together. With that kind of attitude so much can happen.”
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Mark Cavendish snuck his way through a tough situation inside the final kilometer at Tour of Qatar Stage 6 on Friday. The peloton was determined to try and prevent his fourth straight victory, and as he was slightly boxed in within the final meters, it looked to be a tough task for the Manx Missile.
However, after his OPQS teammates protected him all race long, Cavendish found enough of an opening in the final 300 meters to sneak up the left side and accelerate for the win. His fourth straight victory at Tour of Qatar also sealed the overall win, and he even took home the points jersey with 70 points.
Cavendish’s stage and GC victories make it eight for OPQS, in three disciplines, in 2013.
“It was kind of like Al Khor, actually,” Cavendish said of the final sprint, comparing his tactics to the victory of Stage 4. “I knew the wind was coming from the right, knew a gap was coming from the left. Same as when I won in 2009. The same tactics. The guys were going, and going, and going. Other teams started winding up with four laps to go. Still, it ended up the same way with one lap to go. It’s a bit safer into the last lap and everyone’s happy. The guys had been a bit used up for working for me all day and the entire race, so I knew I can kind of just go alone, can leave it late and come up the left side again. That’s exactly what I did. I knew they would go right, and I could just use other leadouts to move up in the last 300 meters and jump on the left hand side.”
Cavendish said he was a bit “rusty” after a crash earlier slightly after 15km into the final stage.
“I tweeted this morning that I’ve won and crashed this stage before — the previous one — and the fact is I did both again,” Cavendish said with a laugh. “I was just going along after 15km, came to a roundabout not going hard, just riding. I was riding on someone’s wheel and he just went down. He doesn’t even know what happened. But, that’s bike racing. It was a freak accident. I’m a bit banged up, but I’m OK. I am just kind of twisted, but we’ll get it sorted.”
Cavendish was all smiles talking about earned the first overall victory for OPQS in 2013 at Tour of Qatar — a race OPQS has been successful at since it began. Cavendish not only continued the tradition at Tour of Qatar, he also added a second stage victory to his palmares.
“I’m over the moon,” Cavendish said. “We come here every year almost guaranteed an overall victory with Tom Boonen, but he’s recovering from an injury. So it put a little bit of pressure on me and I was a bit nervous. But I’m really happy to get the win. The guys worked incredible here. They really looked after me so, so well here and delivered every single day. I am so happy and proud I can bring it home again for the team again. We’ve won Tour of Qatar six times, and I don’t know how many stages, so I am happy to be a part of that.”