Cavendish praises team effort in Almeria win

Fourth victory of 2015 for Etixx-QuickStep sprinter

Sunday proved to be a long day on the front for Etixx-QuickStep, which brought sprinter Mark Cavendish to victory at the Clasica de Almeria, his fifth win of the young 2015 season.

The 183km Spanish race included three categorised climbs but ended with a long downhill run into the finish. An early escape of five riders brought Cavendish's team to the front, and when Movistar and Katusha threw riders into the chase, the catch was imminent.

"Yesterday I didn't really feel good during the race at Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia, but today the team was really motivated," Cavendish said following his win at Almeria. "We started riding from kilometer zero. We were always in front, in the first 10 positions of the group the entire race.

"We also rode strong in the wind and made the decision to break up the bunch in the crosswind after the last climb. With 30 kilometers to go Katusha and Movistar moved up to help us out, so the front group went full gas until the finish line."

The peloton brought the leaders back into the fold just as crosswinds began to blast the bunch. A split in the field left about 58 riders in the front group as the second group on the road fell more than two minutes behind. From there, Etixx-QuickStep once gain controlled the race and delivered the leadout train in perfect position for the final kilometres.

"In the sprint, Zdenek Stybar began the lead-out into the final 450 meters. Then Mark Renshaw led me out, and I was in his slipstream until 150 meters to go. By the time I went it was just a matter of finishing off the race for the win. It was perfect."

Cavendish finsihed off the sprint with time enough to throw his arms aloft ahead of runner-up Juan Jose Lobato of Movistar. Renshaw finished his leadout off with a third-place finish ahead of Astana's Valerio Agnoli and Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise's Edward Theuns.

"I am super happy and proud about the way the team controlled the race the entire day," Cavendish said. "We are riding so united. You can see it not just here, but at Tour of Qatar, where Niki Terpstra won the overall and they also won the team classification. Now we just need to keep up this team atmosphere and keep trying to win races."

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