Mark Cavendish brought in his first win of the 2011 season on Sunday, winning the mass sprint finish at the final stage of the Tour of Oman. “It’s always good to get the first victory of the year, too, it didn’t work out the other day but now I’ve got it and I’m happy,” he said.
The HTC-Highroad rider was shut out in the Tour Down Under and the Tour of Qatar, with crashes in both races and the resulting injuries undermining his chances. He finished second on the first stage in Oman, before crossing the finish line as first on the sixth stage.
"This was my last chance here to win a stage. I'm glad I was able to use it,” he told the Belga news agency.
"In the last 400 metres the winds seemed to come from three different directions, really coming from everywhere. A couple of times I thought we were going to the ground, it was so hectic. In races like this it seems like everyone wants to win the sprint. Some sprints in the Tour are easier than those of today.”
The Manxman knew that, as always, he did not win alone. “I had [teammates] Hayden Roulston and Matt Goss looking after me in the finish, and they did a good job holding onto me and I did a good job holding onto them all the way through,” he said on the team's website.
“Goss went at the end, I left a gap then went for it myself. It was difficult with the wind, but it all worked perfectly.”
It was the team's second victory in the race. Goss had won the second stage and wore the leader's jersey for two days.
Moreover, it wasn't the team's only victory on the day. In the Tour of the Algarve, Tony Martin won the closing time trial to take the overall victory, with young American Tejay Van Garderen taking second overall. The team also won two stages in Portugal, as neo-pro John Degenkolb took the second stage.