Omega-Pharma Quick Step’s Mark Cavendish has taken his third straight victory at the Tour of Qatar, coming in strongly at the end of today’s 154km Stage 5 from Al Zubara Fort to Madinat Al Shamal, in an almost identical finish to yesterday’s stage. Going into tomorrow’s final stage – 116km, Sealine Beach Resort to Doha Corniche – he remains in overall lead on a time of 13h 30’ 59” with BMC Racing’s Brent Bookwalter in second, 15seconds adrift, and his teammate Taylor Phinney third on +20seconds. British riders Luke Rowe and Geraint Thomas (both Team Sky) currently sit on overall ninth and tenth position respectively.
Cavendish commented that the ride had not been as easy as it looked, saying, ‘Even mild winds here on this circuit causes some problems… We knew it would be stressful today. It caused a few splits but we always had five or six guys riding for me. The protection was spot on. As for my spot in the final, we really kept together. Some other teams tried to take over — I think they got some confidence in the last few days. But my entire team came to me in the last minute and we just went.’ He dedicated the victory to Omega-Pharma Quick Step’s owner Zdenek Bakala on his birthday, adding, ‘What’s better than you getting a victory from the team? It’s a great birthday gift for him I think…’