British sprinter Mark Cavendish ended a six-month wait for a victory on Tuesday after surging clear of a bunch sprint finish to win the second stage of the Tour of Catalunya.
The HTC-Columbia rider took victory after clearly outpacing second-placed Argentine Juan Jose Haedo and third-placed Spaniard Aitor Galdos in Banyoles.
The winner of 24 races last year, including six stages of the Tour de France, Cavendish’s victory was his first since the second stage of the Tour of Missouri on Sept. 8.
“More than relieved I feel proud to be winning here because it shows the team never lost confidence in me,” Cavendish told reporters.
“We’ve got a young team here in Catalunya and it could have been difficult for them to commit themselves. Instead of that they gave it 100 per cent, never lost faith in me and that fills me with a sense of pride and gratitude,” he said.
Cavendish said he had enjoyed six wins, including the Milan-San Remo Classic, by this point last year.
However, the 24-year-old was forced to delay this season’s race start by two weeks after his pre-season training was wrecked by illness caused by a badly infected tooth.
“This time the year began badly and not to have won anything has been frustrating,” he said.
“I could have won a stage in the Tirreno-Adriatico and then I had bad luck in Milan-San Remo this year. But gradually things have got better and today I got the win,” Cavendish said.
Germany’s Paul Voss remains the overall leader after his surprise win in Monday’s opening time-trial.
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