Mark Cavendish, after a difficult start to the season, at last claimed a sprint victory in the second stage of the Tour de Romandie. The HTC-Columbia star has been raked over the coals for failing to live up to last season's records, but regained his winning ways after being reunited with lead-out man Mark Renshaw.
The team executed the final kilometres perfectly, dodging traffic islands and closing down attacks to drop Cavendish at the front with 150m to go.
The Manxman easily bested Lampre's Danilo Hondo and Robbie Hunter (Garmin-Transitions) in the dash to the line. The outspoken star let his gestures do the talking as he crossed the line, making an offensive gesture perhaps aimed at his critics before raising both arms in victory.
The reason for the two-fingered salute, Cavendish said, was to "send a message to commentators and journalists who don't know jack shit about cycling," for writing him off.
It was only Cavendish's second win of the year after one stage of the Volta a Catalunya last month. The 24-year-old suffered from a dental abscess earlier in the year and the absence of Renshaw, who missed the early season due to mononucleosis. Cavendish has struggled to find his form and equal the eight wins he had at this point last year.
"It was good to win here. My form is getting better. The team did a great job," he said before dashing off. "Today, I proved that I have never lost my talent, contrary what has been said or written."
Overall leader Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Doimo) maintained his lead over HTC-Columbia's Marco Pinotti heading into the stage three time trial.
For full results, report and photos, visit Cyclingnews.com.