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SAN LUIS, Argentina – British cycling star Mark Cavendish celebrated his first outing in the colours of new team Omega-Pharma Quick Step with a sprint victory in the first stage of the Tour de San Luis.
Cavendish, the 2011 world road race champion who left the Sky team late last year, came across the finish line after a 164km stage ahead of Italians Sacha Modolo (Bardiani) and Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre).
“So my race number (number 1) was a good omen. Though not as much as my (at)opqscyclingteam boys. So proud we could win my 1st race for the team,” Cavendish tweeted after his victory.
The Isle of Man native added: “It was a quite tough finish, with a bit of a incline and not much indication for the 200 and 100m marks, so I decided to go for it 250m out from the finish line.
“The team did a very good job, and it's very nice to feel you're in a team that goes 100 percent out for you.”
Other top cyclists starting their season in Argentina were Spain's two-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), who finished on two Grand Tour podiums in 2012.
Both cyclists finished in the main peloton.
The second stage is a 171.4km ride from Tilisarao to Terrazas del Portezuelo.
Results from 1st stage
1. Mark Cavendish (GBR/Omega-Pharma Quick Step) 3hr 48min 04sec, 2. Sacha Modolo (ITA) same time, 3. Alessandro Petacchi (ITA) s.t., 4. Leight Howard (AUS) s.t., 5. Peter Sagan (SVK) s.t.
48. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) s.t., 70. Alberto Contador (ESP) s.t., 135. Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP) s.t. – Sapa-AFP