Cavendish wins Tour of Qatar
Mark Cavendish recovered from an early crash to complete a dominant overall victory at the Tour of Qatar with a fourth sprint win in a row.
It is only the second time the 27-year-old has topped a general classification in his career and he now has six wins to his name already this season.
His margin of overall victory was 25 seconds over Brent Bookwalter (BMC), while Adam Blythe (BMC) made it two Britons in the top five by finishing fourth, 30 seconds behind his compatriot.
But it could have been very different for the Manxman, after he was brought down by a fallen rider in a "freak accident" inside the first 15km that left him "banged up" and "twisted".
It was a major scare given that only a serious crash or remarkable sequence of results could deny him overall victory, but he was unscathed enough to remount his bike and rejoin the peloton, which had slowed to wait for him.
Cavendish's subsequent sprint win was once again all of his own making; abandoning his Omega Pharma - Quick-Step team-mates after they became swallowed up in a hectic fight for position, before emerging unseen from the slipstream of rivals.
He then powered over the line a wheel's length ahead of Yauheni Hutarovich (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Barry Markus (Vacansoleil-DCM) as he reasserted his status as the world's No 1 sprinter.
'Over the moon'
"I'm over the moon," he said. "[There was] a little bit of pressure on me and I was a bit nervous. But I'm really happy to get the win.
"I am so happy and proud I can bring it home again for the team again. We have won Tour of Qatar six times, and I don't know how many stages, so I am happy to be a part of that."
Of the crash, he added: "I was riding on someone's wheel and he just went down. That's bike racing. It was a freak accident. I'm a bit banged up, but I'm OK."