Mark Cavendish has taken his first win in Team Sky colours, winning stage three of the Tour of Qatar.
The world champion, recovered from the illness that dogged him at the start of the race, sprinted to victory ahead of stage one winner Tom Boonen at the climax of the 146.5km stage from Dukhan to Al Gharafa Stadium. Cavendish’s win, combined with a strong performance in the Team Time Trial the previous day means that he lies in third overall, eight seconds adrift of overall leader Boonen, with Tyler Farrar sandwiched between them at six seconds.
Understandably delighted afterwards, Cavendish said: "I’m very happy with that. I’m still not 100-per-cent but we wanted to ride well as a team and if it came down to a sprint then it came down to a sprint. It split up which we weren’t really expecting but the wind picked up and I was looked after by the lads who got me to the front group.
"We didn’t really have to ride once we were in the group. I had Bernie Eisel and Flecha there in the final with me to just keep me in position. I wanted to come off Boonen’s wheel but then [Kruopis] from GreenEDGE came over on the right and boxed me in. I had to swing out and I wanted to wait for the headwind finish so left it late and came past Boonen.
"It’s incredible to win [with the rainbow jersey]. I said I wanted to make the jersey proud. You never really get the season going until you get that first win under your belt. So now it’s there I can hopefully get on a roll now and we can win some things."
For a full report from Qatar check out www.teamsky.com