Cavendish wins Tour of Qatar opener

DOHA, Qatar (AFP) — Mark Cavendish won the first stage of the Tour of Qatar Monday ahead of Italian pair Sacha Modolo and Andrea Guardini.

Cavendish, who rides for Dimension Data, covered the 175 kilometers from Dukhan to the Al Khor corniche in 3:28:31, out-sprinting Lampre – Merida’s Modolo, Astana’s Guardini, and several others in a bunch sprint to the line.

Because of time bonuses, Cavendish leads Modolo by 8 seconds in the GC standings, while Guardini is another 3 ticks behind.

Tuesday’s 135km second stage around the campus of the University of Qatar will see the peloton tackle the course prepared for the UCI Road World Championships in October.

The tour comprises five stages and will cover a total distance of 626.4km.