WHEN professional cycling team Dimension Data notched up its first win of 2018 in the Dubai Tour, it was little surprise that it involved the proven combination of Mark Renshaw and Mark Cavendish.
Bathurst talent Renshaw has helped sprinter Cavendish to a plethora of wins over the years, firstly for HTC Highroad and now for African outfit Dimension Data.
Their success in Dubai came on the 180 kilometres third stage, a day after Cavendish had placed fourth in a bunch sprint behind eventual tour victor Elia Viviani.
Renshaw worked to get Cavendish within 800 metres of the line before he peeled off, his team-mate then doing the rest as he surged up the middle of the road to win the stage from Skydive Dubai to Fujairah.
“I am really happy with the win and with how the team rode today. We had a plan to be in the front at the roundabout at three kilometres to go, that was our first finish line,” Cavendish said.
“That was good, we had a full African lead out into it, the lads were wicked. It was Bernie [Eisel], Renshaw and I in the last three kilometres before I had to do my own thing in the final.
“I’m just a bit disappointed now that I sat up in the sprint yesterday. I let my team down because technically I could’ve been in the leader’s jersey now.”
The penultimate stage of the tour on Friday again saw Renshaw doing the team job and helping out Cavendish.
The 172km leg to Hatta Dam featured a tough up-hill finish – 200 metres climb at an average 20 percent gradient – yet Cavendish still managed to place 20th, finishing 11 seconds down on Sonny Colbrelli.
Renshaw worked hard to get Cavendish, who went into the fourth stage sitting second in the general classification, within 1km of the finish line.
The Bathurst talent went on to cross the line in 32nd position.
Saturday’s final stage – a 132km leg which finished at City Walk – provided one more opportunity for Cavendish to snare a win for the team.
However, he lost Renshaw’s wheel with around 1.5km to go then got held up 700m out from the line when a Cofidis rider crashed at the front of the peloton.
Cavendish did not crash himself, but lost all momentum. In the end he finished in 93rd, rolling across the line just after Renshaw to end up 12th in the general classification.
Viviani took stage honours in three hours, five minutes and 28 seconds to also seal his overall success.
“I am pretty happy with how the week has gone,” Cavendish said.
“Today the team was wicked and I actually lost Mark Renshaw with a kilometre to go.
“Apart from that, the team did exactly what I asked of them, they were spot on.”