With the kind of all-powering sprint finish that shows his superstar potential HTC-Highroad’s Mark Cavendish yesterday (Wednesday 6) took first place at the Scheldeprijs Classic. Despite having missed out for the last two years, this victory marks the Brit’s third win at the Belgium event – he took his first pro victory here in 2007, repeating his success in 2008 – and he now equals Piet Oellibrandt’s record number of wins for Scheldeprijs. It also sees Cavendish’s second win of the season after a similarly spectacular sprint finish at the Tour of Oman to beat out Denis Galimzyanov and Andrea Guardini in a time of 3:39:58. The Scheldeprijs Classic must have felt like déjà vu to Russian Galimzyanov (Katusha Team), with Cavendish yet again holding him off for second place.
A number of spectacular crashes have defined the race in recent years and Cavendish, to take nothing away from his success, was certainly helped out here this year with a wipe-out close to the finish that ended defending champion Tyler Farrar’s chances of success for Garmin-Cervélo.
With typically British reserve Cavendish summed up his victory with the understated: “I’m racing a lot this season and I’ve had some bad luck, so it’s good I can get the wins in too…My next race will be Paris-Roubaix and then I’ll build up for the Tour de France, with the Tour of Italy and the Tour de Suisse before then as well.”