Cavendish Wins Stage 1 at Dubai Tour 2015
Team Etixx – QuickStep's Mark Cavendish won stage 1 of the 2015 Dubai Tour earlier this afternoon, despite a late rush by Andrea Guardini who finished second. Elia Viviani (Team Sky Pro Cycling) finished 3rd in the stage.
Cavendish launched his sprint from long distance following a strong leadout by teammate Mark Renshaw on the front of the peloton. Cavendish's Etixx-QuickStep team spent much of the stage chasing down a five-rider breakaway, which was brought back with twenty kilometers to go in the stage.
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The stage victory brought Cavendish the general classification lead, earning him the blue leader's jersey and also the lead in the overall points classification.
Paolo Simion (Bardiani CSF), 8th in the stage, was the best finisher among the young riders (born on or after 1 Jan 1990) and took the white jersey. The Intermediate Sprints competition is led by Team Sky's Ben Swift of Great Britain.
Commenting on the sprint finish Cavendish told Roadcycling.com "We planned our lead-out to go in the last few kilometres, but it was so windy there we had to use everybody just to stay at the front in the last twenty kilometers. It was only ourselves and Team Giant-Alpecin riding. Some teams have bought sprinters this winter and then they don’t ride for the sprinters in the first race of the year. But as always, my team showed confidence, they rode incredibly together. Just to follow Mark [Renshaw] is so nice, he’s so patient."
"Ideally I wanted to attack late, because there was a cross-headwind at the finish. Team Sky went on the left early and Renshaw stayed calm and used them to pick up some speed in the slipstream, then he overtook and started the lead out. I felt Swift go on the left and I had to go then, not through fear of Swift getting the jump on me, but if somebody was behind Swift, they could then get the jump on me. So I went earlier than I’d liked, but I know I’ve got good form and I was able to hold it. I knew I was okay when I went, I felt Guardini coming up fast on me but I was happy to just hold on the line," Cavendish continued.
When asked to explain more about his winter training plan, Cavendish told Roadcycling.com "It’s no different to what happened last season. The only change is that I had my break a bit earlier. It’s not like I’m more prepared because I feel I have to be, I’m just more prepared because I started training earlier, I had three weeks off in July, so I’m always going to be slightly more forward at this point of the year than I normally am."
"I’m super-happy with my form, and super happy with the cohesion within the team. At training camp it was such a good ambience. We knew we’d start off on a good note. We won sixty races last year, and we want to better on that this year. It’s not going to be a big ask, I don’t think, because you can feel the motivation and the desire to unite and win," Cavendish explained about his plans for the 2015 season.
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