Signage, his lead out and a rogue spectator spoil his day
Race organiser Eddy Merckx sought out Mark Cavendish after the stage one finish at the Tour of Oman to congratulate him for the way he took on Theo Bos in the sprint but Cavendish was not happy with second place.
The HTC-Highroad rider almost caught Bos in the final metres of the sprint but that only compounded his frustration after a series of incidents stopped him from sprinting as he would have liked.
He explained that badly placed signs left many of the riders unsure of how far they were from the finish in the final kilometres, his HTC teammates then struggled to produce a smooth and effective lead out and a spectator standing in the road near the finish stopped Cavendish from opening his sprint at exactly the right moment.
"Every one was fresh and so you've got every man and his dog sprinting," Cavendish said after taking a few minutes to compose himself.
"We tried to get it together but it was fast and we (the riders on the HTC- Highroad team in Oman) haven't raced that often together."
"Then the signing was wrong. The three kilometre sign was actually where it was two kilometre to go. We thought we had another kilometre to go before the right hander. Then we did the roundabout and it was suddenly a kilometre to go."
"I was about 30 riders back at that point but I saw that Gossy (Matt Goss) was in a good position, so I shouted to him. He went with about six hundred metres to go but he went on the outside, on the right.
That was probably the hardest way because the wind was coming from the right/back. But we went up and I felt good. Then with about two hundred metres to go there was a guy standing in the road and so I had to switch in and I couldn't start my sprint until after that."
"I threw my bike at the line but I just couldn't get to him (Bos). If I'd been able to start my sprint earlier, then maybe I could have won or maybe I would have blown. Who knows?"
No question about his form
Cavendish rebuked questions about his form, insisting that his lack of success so far in 2011 is not a fair indicator of his fitness.
"You can be a super hero but if you're not in the right position (in the peloton) in Qatar, you get dropped. It doesn’t mean you're not on good form," he pointed out.
"I'm in good form but I just wasn't taking the risks. I think everything is on track for Milan-San Remo. Once we get later in the week, there'll be more select sprints."
Cavendish will have a chance to shown his true form at the end of Wednesday's second stage to Al Wutayya. The 139.5km stage is relatively short and ends with two right hand corners in the final kilometre.
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