Omega Pharma riders clear the air after sprint mix-up
Mark Cavendish and his Omega Pharma-Quick Step team started stage Friday's third stage of Tirreno-Adriatico, wrapped up against the rain and ready for another day in the saddle, with the problems of Thursday's sprint mix-up and Cavendish's public criticism of his teammates forgotten about after a post-stage meeting.
Cavendish said he was disappointed with his lead out after being left too far back with just a kilometre to go in the sprint. He eventually finished fifth but said that he would be having 'words' with his teammates.
Omega Pharma-Quick Step directeur sportif Brian Holm confirmed that the riders talked about the sprint and cleared the air. He described the meeting as constructive.
"We know what Cav's like. Nobody had a perfect lead out yesterday but nobody said much except Cav. But I actually like it that he speaks out. There's no bollocks with Cav," Holm told Cyclingnews.
"What Cav said wasn't negative, he wanted to be constructive, to help everyone learn and improve. We had a meeting but it was a good meeting. If we'd pretended that everything went well and it wasn't a big deal, there's a risk we'd start believing it ourselves. It didn’t go right, so we have to admit we messed it up, discuss it and do it better next time."
"As we say in Denmark, 'to fight you have to be good friends'. That means that if you wouldn't argue and fight if you didn’t care."
Positioning and protection was vital in the high-speed run to the finish in Indicatore. However the Omega Pharma-Quick Step riders struggled to help Cavendish after racing for 232km in the rain. Orica-GreenEdge did a fair job and helped Goss in his first race of the season.
Omega Pharma-Quick Step seemed to have dialed in their sprint at the Tour of Qatar: Cavendish won four stages, giving overall victory in six-day race. However, perfecting a lead out sprint takes time and patience.
"We're learning all the time but it will take several sprints to get it right," Holm pointed out.
"It's also important to keep in mind that we worked for the whole stage to defend the jersey and so we had two riders less for the finale."
"The only thing that went wrong was 1.3km to go and that blew out our victory. But that's life. The most important thing is that they talk about and that they still love each other."