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Cavendish credits team for De Panne victory

Jane Aubrey
March 27, 2013, 20:15,
March 27, 2013, 20:10
First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, March 28, 2013
VDK-Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde
Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma Quick Step) triumphs at the end of stage 2.

Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma Quick Step) triumphs at the end of stage 2.

  • Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma Quick Step) triumphs at the end of stage 2.
  • 2009 Milan-San Remo winner Mark Cavendish

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Boonen an important factor

With Belgium's version of the cycling Super Bowl, the Tour of Flanders, just days away Omega Pharma-QuickStep showed its collective strength to deliver Mark Cavendish to his sixth individual stage victory of the season, his first in Belgium, at the Three Days of De Panne in Koksijde.

Orica GreenEdge and Lotto Belisol revved up their lead-outs from 20km to go on the 204.2km stage and with no sign of Tuesday's winner, Peter Sagan (Cannondale), at the front, Tom Boonen rallied his Omega Pharma-QuickStep teammates to set up Cavendish for the win. It was a circumstance that nearly didn't happen though, as the Manxman revealed in the post-race press conference.

"I didn't feel that great actually earlier on in the day," Cavendish admitted. "We talked this morning about doing what we can to dig in for a bunch sprint. Halfway through I was like, 'I don't know if I can do it today.' I didn't feel great, but as the finish grew near we just kind of got to the front. It wasn't even spoken about. We were just doing it, like we were going for the sprint."

With Stijn Vandenbergh, Gert Steegmans, Iljo Keisse and Niki Terpstra gritting their teeth, their effort evident on their faces, Cavendish tucked in behind the Dutch champion, and was perfectly placed coming into the final right-hand bend when Kenny Dehaes (Lotto Belisol) took over. It looked like a perfectly executed plan but in fact, the ordering may not have been what had been stipulated before the race.

"With the guys we've got here, I think we can pretty much swap the guys around where ever we want," Cavendish explained. "It worked out. If we'd written on paper what we were going to do it was probably the reverse."

None of it mattered.

Today's result shows that Omega Pharma-QuickStep has a three-pronged attack heading into tomorrow's final two stages, with Cavendish in third, five seconds behind leader Arnaud Demare (FDJ), while Chavanel and Terpstra remain another second back. Cavendish explained that while some were under the impression that the team had been sprinting for the win in Tuesday's opening stage, the reality "couldn't be further from the truth", and the true battle was being played for the squad's GC hopes - defending champion Chavanel and Terpstra.

It's a team effort that's not lost on Cavendish, who worked tirelessly for his teammates on Tuesday.

"One of the biggest stars who has ever been in cycling, he's one of the guys who has got the most faith in me," Cavendish said of Boonen. "That's incredible. I spoke to Tom last night, and I said 'It really means a lot that you're here.' It's the first time we've raced to a final together this year, as at Gent-Wevelgem he crashed out.

"But seeing the confidence he had in me yesterday, and I mean all the guys as well, it's really nice. I spoke to them last night about that and you've seen the same again today. These guys are flying. It could be easy for them to take their own opportunity to win races here in Belgium. But they're committed to the new guy on the team and it means a lot to me."

Dedelou More than 1 year ago
Lesson well learn, Marc.
Azerjaboomafar More than 1 year ago
Indeed. Cav has become a very classy rider
ellenbrook2001 More than 1 year ago
where was the Super new incredible star SAGAN the doping did wear off just ready too have another shoot on SUDAY so he can do that stupid wheelie across the line how stupid was so immature????????
rosacorsa More than 1 year ago
Here we go again. A serious question - have you or your family been wronged by Sagan? You seem to have a lot of negativity towards him. Whatever your problem is you should let it go as you already seem to be on the edge. You don't seem to be able to grasp the basic concept that Sagan, like you, is his own person which means he can do want he wants to do. He can watch the films he likes, eat at the restaurants he wants to eat at, and low and behold, celebrate a victory the way he wants to as well. I would agree with your argument he is being disrespectful if he was turning around and sticking up two fingers to other riders just before crossing the line, or got off his bike 100 meters from the finishing line and walked backwards while beating his chest and shouting "This is too easy" - but he's not. So as much as I like Cancellara, his comments about Sagan come across as strange at best, and bitter at worst. You might find a sympathetic ear if you write to Stephen Roche though. He can add banning celebrations to his list of other 'outlandish' things to outlaw such as unzipped jerseys. Sigh.
lakat47 More than 1 year ago
I am not sure I can explain my dislike of the rider Sagan (not the person as I don't know him). I don't mind the normal triumphant celebrations of the sprinters when they win. I get a kick out of them pointing to their legs or showing off their sponsors name on their jersey, arms in the air, all okay. Sagan is so cheesy and so not cool. Like he THINKS he is very cool but it falls so flat. He tries too hard to have a different and clever (it never is) routine each time he beats the other sprinters. He is a talented cyclist, he should have some class and act like he's been there before. (Tom Landry's advice to showboating TD makers) Sagan can do what he wants to do and we, the fans, will think what we want to think.
Mike Cross More than 1 year ago
Ellen (if that is your real name), I can recommend a book by Lynne Truss titled Eats, Shoots and Leaves that is about punctuation, something that your posting is desperately in need of. A dictionary would also be a help with your spelling; SUDAY?
Todd Wilson More than 1 year ago
I can never understand why people expect other people to act the way they want them to. Ellen, Sagan is his own man and to insult him for doing what he enjoys shows you are a bit immature yourself.
Steveo More than 1 year ago
Time to follow a new sport perhaps Ellen?
Raoul Duke More than 1 year ago
It has been nice to see over the years how Cavendish has developed into a very professional and classy rider.
lakat47 More than 1 year ago
I love to watch Cavendish! He is exciting and hardly ever disappoints. My favorite is on the Champs Elyse on the last lap, on the last turn into the straightaway. I can see George Hincapie in front and Mark Renshaw all HTC in white, tearing around that corner leading the diminuative Cavendish on to victory! Another favorite image is of Thor being led in the final kilometer by a teammate and they looked like they were flying. All of a sudden you see a flash on the outside and it's Mark making Thor look like he's not moving at all! So many exciting highlights. One of the many things about pro-cycling I love. I'm hoping to see more this tour and also see Contador in fine form.