Mark Canvedish (Etixx-QuickStep) won his second successive stage victory in the 2015 Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey on Monday, and remains the leader after a sprint finish in Antalya.
Cavendish also sprinted to victory in the opening stage on Sunday after taking over Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida), despite being hampered by a slow puncture.
Going into Tuesday’s third stage with his eighth victory of the season so far, Cavendish has wracked up his 127th professional career win.
On the Etixx-Quick-Step website, Cavendish, said: “At a corner with about 5km to go my wheel went from me and I thought to myself ‘that’s not good’ as I lost my balance,”
“The wheel was spongy. It wasn’t totally flat but it was a slow leaking puncture. I thought about stopping to get a new wheel, but we were already on our third guy of the train. If I stopped, we were one man short for Mark Renshaw. So I thought I’d give it a crack. I went easy for the final corners. I had confidence in my team-mates. If they kept me in the front on the corners I’d be okay, and they did just that.
“I feel like I am about the same condition as I was this time last year. After a month without racing you can be sure you’ve got good form but you can never know exactly where you’re at. I knew before I even won I was feeling good.”
Etixx-Quick-Step had six riders with five kilometres to go and three with 1.2km before Mark Renshaw produced his usual burst to put Cavendish in the clear with 200m left.
Cavendish beat Australia's Caleb Ewan and Nicola Ruffoni of Italy to the line by half a wheel at the climax of the 145km stage in Alanya.
After a lay off this was Cavendish’s first tour back. The Brit claimed he felt sick in South Africa and had to get over a virus.
"There are a lot of big sprinters at the race so we knew it would be chaotic, and it really was," said Cavendish.
Cavendish will skip next month’s Giro d’Italia the year’s first Grand Tour - while Belgian Tom Boonen from Etixx-Quick-Step may race the for the first time in his 14-year career, according to boss Patrick Lefever.
There are some decent bets to be had for this Grand Tour, Paddy Power
having Spaniard and former Giro d’Italia winner Alberto Contador at 10/11
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Other bets: Sky Bet have Rigoberto Uran at 15/2
; Coral have Richie Porter at 13/5
; while Betfair have Contador at 4/5
STAGE TWO RESULTS: Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey 2015 Alanya to Antalya 182km
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Etixx-QuickStep?
2. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida?
3. Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani CSF?
4. Sebastian Molano (Col) Colombia?
5. Daniele Colli (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini?
6. Ahmet Orken (Tur) Torku Sekerspor?
7. Michael Kolar (Slo) Tinkoff-Saxo?
8. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Southeast?
9. Eduard Grosu (Bel) Nippo-Vini Fantini?
10. Paolo Simion (Ita) Bardiani CSF all same time