Mark Cavendish, competing for Great Britain aboard his fi’zi:k Arione saddle, came so close to winning the second rainbow jersey of his career in Qatar on Sunday, finishing a bike-length down on Slovakia’s Peter Sagan, who retained his world championship road title from 2015.

Cavendish looked in contention for a famous victory, but down the final straight momentarily lost speed in order to pass Michael Matthews (fi’zi:k Antares 00 saddle), who’d eventually finish a fine fourth. That hint of hesitation cost the 31-year-old Briton, who couldn’t hide his frustration in the media scrum.

‘I feel I’ve lost gold and not won silver,’ Cavendish said. ‘I was on Sagan’s wheel and, all of a sudden, the road was blocked. I tried to find a way through but, with less than 100m to go, I had to stop pedaling and come round Matthews. By then it was too late.’

Earlier in the day, the real action began 80km into the 257.5km course as the riders prepared to turn south toward Doha. The desert crosswinds and strong pullsfrom both Belgium and Great Britain fractured the peloton with around 40 riders going clear at speeds touching 60km/hr.

Cavendish’s chances seemingly diminished soon after when Briton’s Luke Rowe (fi’zi:k Arione R1 saddle) and Geraint Thomas (fi’zi:k R1B shoes) both punctured, but a sterling effort by Adam Blythe, in particular, who would finish 12th, sheltered Cav from the fierce crosswinds and primed to unleash his trademark sprint. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be.

Cavendish’s silver completes a strong week for fi’zi:k with BMC Racing winning team time-trial silver, while Vasil Kiryienka (fi’zi:k Arione R1 saddle) and Jonathan Castroviejo (fi’zi:k Arione R1 saddle) took silver and bronze, respectively, in the men’s individual time trial.

Cavendish is one of a number of f’izi:k riders looking forward to competing in this week’s four-stage Abu Dhabi Tour, staring on Thursday.