Mark Cavendish won stage two of the Tour of Turkey on Monday earning his first victory in more than three years. The 35-year-old, with 30 Tour de France stage victories in his career, had not won anything since February 2018 and had been suffering from the Epstein-Barr virus. But on Monday powered to a narrow win, overtaking Jasper Philipsen on the line after a 144.9km circuit around the town of Konya.
“It’s incredible, it’s super nice and I never get tired of this feeling,” Cavendish said.
The victory gave him the overall lead in the race after he also came fourth on Sunday’s opener.
The Manxman was also swift to thank Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere for having given him a contract in the New Year.
“Some people didn’t think I could get back to winning, but he did and for that I am grateful,” he said.
It was also a big moment for another Quick-Step sprinter, Fabio Jakobsen, who is making his return after cheating death at the Tour of Poland eight months ago.
“What made me super proud was that Fabio was involved in this, working at the front in the finale together with the other guys, especially after what he has been through,” Cavendish said.
“This team is a family and I am happy to be part of it.”
Sunday had already been a big day for the Belgian team as the 24-year-old Jakobsen received a standing ovation at the start after fighting his way back from his injuries which included several skull fractures as well as losing all his teeth at the Tour of Poland last year.
|1||CAVENDISH Mark||Deceuninck – Quick Step||3:17:26|
|3||GREIPEL André||Israel Start-Up Nation||0:00|
|4||DE KLEIJN Arvid||Rally Cycling||0:00|
|5||ANIOŁKOWSKI Stanisław||Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB||0:00|
|8||MOZZATO Luca||B&B Hotels p/b KTM||0:00|
|9||ZABEL Rick||Israel Start-Up Nation||0:00|
|10||WÆRENSKJOLD Søren||Uno-X Pro Cycling Team||0:00|
|1||CAVENDISH Mark||Deceuninck – Quick Step||4:52:54|
|2||DE KLEIJN Arvid||Rally Cycling||4:52:54|
|4||HALVORSEN Kristoffer||Uno-X Pro Cycling Team||4:52:58|
|5||GREIPEL André||Israel Start-Up Nation||4:53:00|
|7||ZAKHAROV Artyom||Astana – Premier Tech||4:53:01|
|8||DE BIE Sean||Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB||4:53:01|
|9||SLIK Ivar||ABLOC CT||4:53:02|
|10||BUTS Vitaliy||Salcano Sakarya BB Team||4:53:02|
RBA/AFP Photos: Bettini