Cavendish Poised for Sprint Action in Qatar
Team Columbia-Highroad's sprint star Mark Cavendish’s 2009 season will get underway in the Tour of Qatar next Sunday – and he can’t wait to get started.
“It’s been quite a while since I raced [in the Tour of Missouri last September, where he won three stages],” Cavendish told Roadcycling.com. “I’m in good shape, I’ve had a good winter and I’m feeling excited about the new season.”
“On paper Qatar is favourable for the sprinters, but the roads are really exposed and you’ve got to watch out for crosswinds,” Cavendish added. “Before you know it, the bunch can have split into 15 different groups.”
Cavendish has no doubt, though, that he’ll be well protected in the build-ups to the sprints in Qatar.
“We’ve got some of our top time triallists coming out there, guys who know how to keep up a high pace in the final kilometres of each stage, so we should be able to create a great ‘train’ for the sprint.”
Columbia-Highroad’s lead-out man for Cavendish in the Tour of Qatar will be New Zealander Greg Henderson. Henderson himself won two bunch sprint stages of Tour of Georgia for Columbia-Highroad back in 2008.
“[Team-mate and new signing] Mark Renshaw will have that role [of lead-out man] sometimes in 2009,” Cavendish added. “But Mark’s just come out of racing the Tour Down Under and we didn’t want him to take on Qatar as well before doing the Tour of California, which is one of our team’s biggest goals for 2009.”
The Tour of Qatar race runs from February 1st - 6th, 2009.