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Cav does it again!

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Hopefully, the Manx Missile gets another outing in this year's Tour De France even if Lefevre is currently in the boss seat.

 

Mark Cavendish laid down an early-season marker on Monday when the Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl rider sprinted to victory at the end of the 173-kilometre second stage of the UAE Tour in Abu Dhabi. After missing out on the chance to sprint for victory on Sunday, the Briton took his first win on only the second day of the WorldTour season – and second of the year – as the race for Tour de France slots within the Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl squad heats up.

 

Despite having won four stages at last year's Tour de France, it has been reported in the Belgian media that Fabio Jakobsen, who has already won four races this year, is the favoured sprinter of general manager Patrick Lefevre with the Dutchman pencilled in for a slot at the world's biggest bike race. However, with a world-class field of sprinters on show at the UAE Tour, Cavendish's impressive win will have come as a huge boost.

 

On a day that was dominated by strong winds, that led to the riders almost coming to a standstill as they were battered by waves of sand, it was perhaps fitting that the stage was won by one of the shortest sprinters – and most aerodynamic – in the peloton. Hitting out from some distance out, the 36-year-old overhauled former team-mate Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) before edging into the lead. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) countered, but was unable to match Cavendish, who held on all the way to the line where he took the win by half a wheel.

 

"I knew I was capable of getting more wins, and this victory, my first World Tour one of the year, gives me a lot of confidence not just for the remaining stages of the UAE Tour, but also for the next races," Cavendish said. "I want to thank the team for their work today. We have a young squad here, with two neo-pros, but we all believe in each other, and all the guys did a great job in bringing me to the finish as fresh as possible.

 

"It was again very hectic, but we remained calm, and feeling that good allowed me to launch my sprint from 250 metres to go, despite the headwind. I had the energy to maintain my sprint all the way to the line and I’m happy with the way things went for us today."

 

The UAE Tour continues on Tuesday with short 9km time trial, before Wednesday's mountainous stage which is expected to cause a dramatic shake-up in the general classification. Two more stages are expected to favour the sprinters – Thursday and Friday – before the race concludes on Saturday with a second uphill finish of the seven-day race.

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