Mark Cavendish has reclaimed the title he won three years ago at the Tour of Qatar, holding on to his overall lead to bag his second victory at the annual UCI Asia Tour race.
The British rider, turning out in his second stage race for South African outfit Dimension Data, was edged by Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha) on Friday’s fifth and final stage.
He did enough to win the general classification (GC) by five seconds, however, with Kristoff ending second overall.
Cavendish admitted Norwegian rider Edvald Boasson Hagen would likely have clinched the victory, had he not punctured on the fourth stage while holding the GC lead.
The former world champion, who won the first stage, claimed he was wearing the winner’s jersey “on behalf” of his teammate, who had clinched stage three.
“He (Boasson Hagen) should be the guy wearing this gold jersey but we are just super happy to keep it in Team Dimension Data,” Cavendish told the team website.
“The team made the step up to World Tour (status) this year and we’ve already won a GC.”
The outfit’s sport director, Roger Hammond, was delighted with their performance.
“In a difficult last day of the tour, the entire team stepped up to the challenge and defended the jersey,” Hammond said.
“I am so pleased for all the guys and the entire team. They really deserved the win.”