Top 10 again in Qatar
Cavendish takes over race lead with victory
Last Updated: 07/02/13 2:34pm
The team still hold strong overall placings
Edvald Boasson Hagen was squeezed into ninth place in the sprint on stage four at the Tour of Qatar.
The Norwegian was forced to check up inside the final kilometre as the road narrowed on the approach to the line on the Al Khor Corniche.
Mark Cavendish mirrored his victory of 12 months ago with the win, fending off Barry Markus (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Andrea Guardini (Astana) to win his second stage in a row.
That result moved the Manxman (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) into the gold leader’s jersey, two seconds ahead of previous leader Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing) and a further six in front of Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing).
Provisionally Bernhard Eisel still leads the Team Sky charge in seventh, 13 seconds back while Mathew Hayman – who was caught up in a late crash – Edvald Boasson Hagen and Geraint Thomas round out the top 10.
After the finish team Doctor Richard Usher filled us in on the condition of Hayman, who finished the stage and was taken to hospital for some routine x-rays.
"Mat crashed in the final kilometres but was able to finish the stage. Following minor injuries we took him to hospital for routine check x-rays which came back clear. We will see how he is in the morning before taking a view as to whether he starts or not."
Sports Director Servais Knaven also talked us through another hectic finish, adding: “In Qatar when there is no wind we often see quite hectic sprints like this. Today was no exception and the final was pretty fast. The peloton really had to race hard to catch the breakaway which made it a little bit harder than yesterday.
“Our guys were all there. The plan was to come together at the final roundabout. The guys were well-positioned but Eddy got a bit blocked and wasn’t able to do a decent sprint which was a pity. We helped out in chasing the breakaway with Gabba [Rasch], Ian [Stannard] and CJ [Sutton]. The guys did a good job there. It’s always a pity as we’d like to have a good result as well.”
Another sprint finish
The longest stage of the race saw the peloton head out of the Camel Race Track on Wednesday morning ahead of a 160km route criss-crossing the desert.
Three riders headed off up the road – Gatis Smukulis (Katusha), Andriy Grivko (Astana) and Pirmin Lang (IAM Cycling) all allowed to build a gap in the region of five minutes before Omega Pharma – Quick-Step began to drag the deficit back.
BMC were also there in support of overnight leader Bookwalter, yet the American would be held up in a late crash which also collected Hayman. Despite not losing time due to the three kilometre rule the American relinquished the lead on account of time bonuses on the line.