Volta ao Algarve Stage 1: Cavendish 6th, OPQS Works Hard at the Front
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team continued the teamwork that earned them big time success at Tour of Qatar, working at the front all day to chase down a break inside the final 10km of Volta ao Algarve Stage 1 on Thursday, in hopes of setting up Mark Cavendish for another sprint victory.
However, it was Paul Martens (Blanco ProCycling Team) who won the stage as a few riders gained crucial separation in the final kilometer. Tiago Machado (Radioshack-Leopard) placed 2nd and Theo Bos (Blanco ProCycling Team) finished 3rd. Cavendish was 6th.
"The guys today did a great job on a not so easy parcour," Sports Director Tom Steels said. "It was always up and down. Iljo Keisse and Frantisek Rabon did a great job to close the gap between the breakaway and the group. Overall we were well organized, but at the roundabout with 1km to go, there was a little confusion on the roundabout as with every sprint. A gap formed and we came back, but the final was too close to get a better result. It's a pity because we were riding really well, and Mark is also in good shape and was in position until that point. But these things happen. Tomorrow is another possibility for the sprint and we will try again. There are two little hills at the beginning that are not easy to pass, but we will try to take responsibility and put Mark in the best position for the sprint."