February 06, 2013 (Doha, Qatar) – With a lot less wind then on the opening days of the Tour of Qatar, it was to be a stage for sprinters. And when it comes to pure speed, there’s not much anyone can do against Mark Cavendish and his Omega Pharma Quickstep team. Like on the previous stage, the Brit powered to an impressive win, beating Markus and Guardini to the line. Thanks to his 6th stage success in Qatar, “Cav” takes command of the GC and conquers the Golden Jersey that he’ll be wearing for the very first time.
It’s been a tradition now for the last 12 years, the Camel Race Track hosted the start of stage 4. The 139 riders of the Tour of Qatar would have to take on the longest stage of this 12th edition: 160kms of racing all the way to the Al KhorCorniche on the east coast of the peninsula. After 13 kilometres of racing, three men managed to break away: Grivko (AST), Lang (IAM) and Smukulis (KAT). Their lead grew rapidly and reached 6’30 at the first intermediate sprint (km 37) won by Grivko ahead of Smukulis and Lang.
Not too concerned by the escapees, the pack remained 7’15 adrift at km 81. >From then on, the gap dropped gradually. The second bonus sprint (km 124.5) was again claimed by Grivko in front of Lang and Smukulis with the peloton 5’15 behind. As several teams took on the chase, the front men’s advantage dropped to 3’45 with 25 kms to go and then 1’35 ten kilometres later.
The escapees were finally caught at km 146. The pack remained bunched all the way to the final showdown in Al Khor. With less than one kilometre to go, a crash occurred, throwing to the ground around 15 riders. That, however, didn’t prevent Mark Cavendish (OPQ) from powering to his second consecutive stage win. The Brit again beat young and promising Markus (VCD) to the line while Guardini (AST) captured third spot.
Thanks to his 6th success in Qatar, “Cav” conquers the Golden Jersey with a 2″ advantage over former leader Brent Bookwalter (BMC) and 8″ over Taylor Phinney (BMC) who remains best young rider of the race. Added to his new race leadership, Cavendish comforts his lead in the points’ and Excellency standings.
More information about the Tour of Qatar 2013 on www.letour.fr
1. Mark Cavendish (Gbr) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team 3:030:05
2. Barry Markus (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
3. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana Pro Team
4. Filippo Fortin (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox
5. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha
6. Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
7. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ
8. Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) Orica-GreenEdge
9. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling
10. Davide Appollonio (Ita) Ag2R La Mondiale
43. Dominique Rollin (Can) FDJ
116. Hugo Houle (Can) AG2R La Mondial 0:02:12
138. Guillaume Boivin (Can) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:05:06
GC after Stage 4
1. Mark Cavendish (Gbr) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team 10:20:01
2. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:02
3. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:08
4. Adam Blythe (Gbr) BMC Racing Team 0:00:09
5. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:12
6. Michael Schär (Sui) BMC Racing Team
7. Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Sky Procycling 0:00:13
8. Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky Procycling 0:00:14
9. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling 0:00:16
10. Geraint Thomas (Gbr) Sky Procycling 0:00:17
30. Dominique Rollin (Can) FDJ 0:00:41
121. Hugo Houle (Can) AG2R La Mondial 0:18:59
123. Guillaume Boivin (Can) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:19:07