Mark Cavendish sealed overall victory at the Tour of Qatar yesterday with a fourth successive stage victory.
The 27-year-old Englishman from the Isle of Man triumphed on the sixth and final stage, the 116-kilometre route from the Sealine Beach Resort to the Doha Corniche in a sprint finish to claim the race-winner's golden jersey. Yauheni Hutarovich of Belarus and Barry Markus of the Netherlands were second and third overall, respectively.
It was a fifth win of the season for Cavendish and appeared to justify his close-season move from Team Sky to Omega Pharma-QuickStep.
The 10-second bonus for the stage win saw Cavendish triumph by 25 seconds over the American Brent Bookwalter of BMC Racing.
"I'm over the moon," Cavendish said. "We come here every year almost guaranteed an overall victory with Tom Boonen, but he's recovering from an injury. So it put a little bit of pressure on me and I was a bit nervous.
"But I'm really happy to get the win. The guys worked incredible here. They really looked after me so, so well here and delivered every single day. I am so happy and proud I can bring it home again for the team. We've won the Tour of Qatar six times, and I don't know how many stages, so I am happy to be a part of that."
It was Cavendish's eighth win in total on the Tour of Qatar, and his fourth in as many days.
No rider had ever won four consecutive stages in the event.
Boonen, the Belgian who is a four-time winner of the Tour, won four stages in 2007, but not in succession. Boonen, who is now a teammate of Cavendish was unable to defend his title this year due to an elbow injury.
Meanwhile, the Russian team Katusha is presenting an appeal to sport's highest court after the International Cycling Union refused to grant top-tier status in 2013. The Court of Arbitration for Sport says a verdict is expected next week.
Katusha riders include the 2012 rankings leader, Joaquim Rodriguez of Spain.
The UCI's license commission declined Katusha's application for World Tour status and guaranteed entry to cycling's biggest races. The license was refused in December, and neither the commission nor Katusha have offered an explanation.
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