Cavendish rues misfortune on final stage of Dubai Tour, head to head with Kittel doesn’t happen
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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Cavendish rues misfortune on final stage of Dubai Tour, head to head with Kittel doesn’t happen

by Shane Stokes at 11:15 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Renshaw nets second amid confusion

Mark CavendishIn a humorous exchange on Twitter yesterday evening Mark Cavendish asked to join in with Marcel Kittel and roommate Koen de Kort, who were playing video games in their hotel room at the Dubai Tour. “Let me come and play. I might win something for once,” said Cavendish wryly, who has found himself out of position at the race this week.

Kittel is the rider who took over Cavendish’s mantle as the world’s fastest sprinter at last year’s Tour de France. The Manxman has been doing concentrated sprint training since then as part of his push to get back to the top of world sprinting, but his Dubai Tour experience has been a fruitless one.

That frustration continued today for Cavendish, who saw his bid to go head to head with Kittel on the final stage dashed inside the final kilometre and a half. The German went on to win the stage, while the Omega Pharma Quick Step rider was delayed due to a near crash.

“We were really motivated today, it was a nice sprint,” said Cavendish afterwards, making clear that he wanted to try to turn things around and notch up his first victory of the season. “We planned it really well. The team rode really good, it was a flat stage. Unfortunately, coming into the final, it's what can happen. It's a dangerous sport.

“I hit some bollard in the road and I've got a swollen hand and it ripped the chain out of my rear mech. I just count myself lucky because if it was a concrete or a metal one like in Europe I wouldn't be here to talk about it right now. But, I was happy with the team. The team carried on and we have to be happy with Renshaw taking second behind Marcel Kittel. The team did a good job and it showed that if things had gone a bit better we could have got the win.”

Mark Renshaw had been due to lead out Cavendish but instead had to try to contest the win himself. He was second-best to Kittel, who appeared to have to make his move early.

“There was a little bit of a mix-up in the final,” said Renshaw. “It was a shame because we set the stage up for him [Cavendish]. The incident was only with a little more than a kilometre to go and we had to make a quick change of planning, so finishing second is probably the maximum I could do.”

The team’s CEO Patrick Lefevere said that he accepted the result. “The team was looking for Mark, but they lost him due to the accident. We cannot blame anybody about not winning today.”

His team will have more chances to chase sprint wins at the Tour of Qatar, which begins tomorrow. Some of the riders who competed in Dubai will take flights today in order to compete in that event, but defending champion Cavendish is giving the race a miss.

Rather than going back to back, he wants to have a lighter buildup to the Tour de France in order to ensure that he is fresher than he was during the 2013 event.

He hopes that this will be the key to getting back on track in the Tour; if so, he won’t have to look to video games to get the better of Kittel.


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