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Mark Cavendish had his best lead-out for a long time as he sprinted in to claim stage victory at Tour of Colombia

Mark Cavendish has a new lead-out formation this season at Astana Qazaqstan and the Manxman was quick to point out how well his trained performed in helping him win stage 4 of Tour Colombia.

While Danish veteran Michael Mørkøv is the only new face in the train this year, his ability as a pilot nearing any finish – not to mention how useful his experience is in organising the train – may make a huge difference for Cavendish this year.

The British rider needs just one more stage win – a 35th – at the Tour de France to take the all-time stage winner record outright and early season wins, especially with a solid lead-out, will boost his confidence and that of his team.

Yesterday Cavendish had Harold Tejada, Alexey Lutsenko, Michael Mørkøv and Cees Bol at his service. Interestingly, Mørkøv was the second last man in the train and Bol was the last, with Cavendish coming off his wheel to win.

The team suggested that was only a once-off change and brought about after Mørkøv had suffered a puncture and was forced to burn some matches to get back to the front. Lutsenko and Tejada were also put to most use earlier in the stage, closing a two-minute gap for Cavendish when the peloton split on a climb halfway through the stage.

At the finish Cavendish edged out stage 1 winner Fernando Gaviria (Movistar Team) and Nelson Andrés Soto (Petrolike), with Bol claiming 4th after 182km of racing into Zipaquirá.

“I’m speechless. I was lined up behind my boys in the final kilometer and knew I couldn’t let them down,” a delighted Cavendish said after the finish.

“They were phenomenal. Not just in the final, but the whole day. After a split in the peloton over a climb, they chased with ferocity and heart, along with Movistar Team for 70km to make sure we got our sprint.

“The belief and passion they showed for our team brings tears to my eyes. I’m so proud we could get another stage win here in Colombia.

“To sprint against Fernando Gaviria in his home country was special too. He was coming so fast, and after the work of both our teams, I was delighted to share the podium with him.”

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