By Gregor Brown in Doha, Qatar
Mark Cavendish came to Qatar this week and conquered via two stage wins against some of the world's best sprinters. The Columbia-High Road rider leaves the Tour of Qatar and readies for the next objective, the Tour of California.
"I know I am strong and I know my team is strong. The problem is there are not many sprint stages in the Tour of California. But we will have a massively strong GC team there and we will fight for the GC as well," Cavendish said to Cyclingnews Friday in Doha.
The 23-year-old Briton from the Isle of Man came to the Tour of Qatar, February 1 to 6, to prepare for the Tour of California. The trip paid off via two stage wins up against some of the same rivals he will face all year, like Tom Boonen and Danilo Napolitano.
"I came here and I knew I had good form. It was a case of getting experience and more results and I was able to do that, which it is good."
The team will chance slightly for California; the team will build his lead-out train with fresh riders. The success in the final stage of Qatar will encourage Cavendish on to more wins.
"We are really happy with it. ... We were the first guys to put riders on the front, and they stayed on the front right from the beginning to the end it was perfect."
Cavendish and Michael Barry will join their six other teammates in California. During the stage race, February 15 to 22, he will rely on riders like Mark Renshaw and Adam Hanson for the sprint work.