Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) has won the opening stage of the Tour of Qatar in convincing fashion today, beating the Italian duo of Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) and Andrea Guardini (Astana) into second and third. Sam Bennett (Bora-Argon 18) just missed out on a podium spot as he finished in fourth place.
The stage from Dukhan to Al Kohr Corniche was affected by crosswinds and the race split into echelons with most of the top sprinters making it into the first group.
In addition to the aforementioned riders, Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) also made it into the lead group alongside a number of his teammates.
The leaders worked well together and coming into the closing kilometres, they held a lead of over a minute from the chase group. Kristoff led out the sprint as Cav came off his wheel.
The Norwegian faded to finish in fifth as Cavendish took his first win of the season. He also takes the first leader’s jersey of the race.
Stage 1 Results
1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data 3:28:46
2 Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida
3 Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana
4 Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora Argon 18
5 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha
6 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data
7 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing
8 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing
9 Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Fortuneo Vital Concept
10 Soren Kragh Anderson (Den) Giant-Alpecin