By Shane Stokes
Bouncing back from the disappointment he experienced in the Beijing Olympics, Mark Cavendish underlined his status as cycling's fastest sprinter when he won a 60 man bunch gallop on the opening day of the Tour of Ireland.
The Team Columbia rider hit the front inside the final 500 metres and easily held off Julian Dean (Garmin Chipotle), Alexander Kristoff (Joker Bianchi), Boy Van Poppel (Rabobank Continental) and the rest of the peloton. This earned him the first yellow jersey of the race and his fourteenth victory of the season.
Cavendish, who won four stages in this year's Tour de France, was very happy with the result. He was helped greatly by his Columbia team, firstly in controlling the gains of the breakaway and then also in helping him back to the bunch after he got dropped on the lumpy run-in to the finish.
"I was very pleased with the team performance today," he said after the finish. "My form is not so good after just traveling back from Beijing, so it just shows how you need such a strong team behind you. You saw how well they worked today, like always. I think we have shown all year how strong we are as a team, and to come to Ireland and do that is perfect. To come away with the yellow jersey after the first stage is even better.
"You can never get tired of winning. And the feeling is obviously a bit sweeter when you are tired, too."
Continue to the full report and results.