Cavendish unable to match Kittel in Tour of Britain sprint

Omega Pharma-Quickstep second on stage, overall

Although the Omega Pharma-Quickstep team missed out on the overall victory in the Tour of Britain, and sprinter Mark Cavendish went winless in the 9-stage race, Cavendish praised the team for their work this week.

"It's been a great week riding with the team," Cavendish said. "The boys rode really hard and they've given everything. The team spirit has been fantastic."

Cavendish suffered an injured quadriceps in a collision with a race vehicle in stage 1, and was unable to contest the sprints after the first stage, but he was clearly back on form for the final sprint, where he went head-to-head with Giant-Shimano's Marcel Kittel, only losing out by a tire's width.

"I've had a hard week. I would have liked to have won the stage but it wasn't a perfect finish," Cavendish said. "Kittel also had a little more left in the tank. But I'm happy, especially after crashing early in this Tour of Britain. I'll come back next season stronger and fitter, and will look again to win with the help of my teammates."

Cavendish declined a chance to represent Great Britain in the UCI Road World Championships in Ponferrada later this month.

His teammate Michal Kwiatkowski was unable to unseat Dylan van Baarle to win the overall after losing the jersey to the escapees on stage 6. Dylan van Baarle gained enough time on stage 7 to win the overall, but the Polish rider was proud of the performance of the team.

"I'm happy with what we did as a team," Kwiatkowski said. "We won three stages [Mark Renshaw, stage 2, Kwiatkowski, stage 4 and Julien Vermote stage 7 -ed.) I finished second overall and won the points jersey. It was a great week here at Tour of Britain. Every single stage was a little bit like a Classic. Up and down, full gas until the end. It wasn't easy to control the race with only 6 riders here for the team, that's why I really want to thank my teammates for their great job. I'm happy with my condition and I think we all are satisfied with what we did."

Kwiatkowski will compete with the team at the Worlds team time trial, and then represent his country in the elite men's races.

"I'm now looking forward to Worlds. Good kilometers, good weather, and hard racing have prepared me well. My morale is high and I know I'm on the right path."

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