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Mark Cavendish: It's nice to be competitive again

Tour of Oman 2022 - stage 2
(Image credit: Getty)

Mark Cavendish (opens in new tab) (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) claimed his first victory of the 2022 season on the second stage (opens in new tab) of the Tour of Oman (opens in new tab), upgrading from his second place in the opening sprint to claim the 157th win of his long and successful career.

The Manxman revealed to the media at the Tour of Oman, including Cyclingnews, that he had only been back on the bike for six weeks before starting the race. His winter was disrupted first by a heavy crash at the Gent Six which saw him hospitalised with a collapsed lung and broken ribs, and then by an armed burglary at his family home. 

"I got confidence from yesterday, you know, considering I've only been on the bike for six weeks," Cavendish said. 

"I felt really good yesterday, so I got the confidence that I could go from far out, and ultimately I wound up the last kilometre. I had to hit at 300 to go and because I was a little too far back there. I'm happy I could win after coming close yesterday."

The stage, which headed 167.5 kilometres along the Gulf of Oman coast road, was touted as a day possibly affected by high winds blowing in from the east. However, come the final kilometres, the wind was more a breeze than a gale, and the threatened splits in the peloton never materialised.

Cavendish said that the 167.5km stage, which featured no classified climbs and was largely flat, was a straightforward one which everybody in the peloton knew would finish with a bunch sprint. 

Antonio Angulo (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Stephen Clancy (Novo Nordisk) dutifully put in their kilometres in the breakaway but for scant reward as the sprint teams QuickStep and BikeExchange brought it back for the finish.

"The stage was pretty straightforward to everyone," Cavendish explained. 

"I think everyone was committed that it was going to be a bunch sprint. There was a threat of crosswinds, but you stay calm.

"And yes, the lead out – with an inexperienced group, actually – it was pretty good, and I can't really complain about anything. Obviously if it was a more experienced team it'd be a lot more dialled but all you can say is that everyone is committed. Iljo did a monster pull in the last kilometre which kept me up so I'm happy with the guys.

"It's always nice to get the first win, so I'm happy," Cavendish concluded. 

"It's nice to be competitive again."

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Daniel Ostanek is production editor at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired as staff writer. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news and features, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content throughout the season.

Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Vuelta a España.