The T-Mobile team was all ready to deliver its sprinter Mark Cavendish to his 11th win of the season in the first stage of the Circuit Franco-Belge, but bad luck that plagued the Manxman in the Tour de France returned in Belgium, and Cavendish crashed with two kilometres to go, and had to watch from behind as Aurélien Clerc (Bouygues Telecom) got his first win of the season ahead of Mark Renshaw (Credit Agricole) and Belgium's Wouter Weylandt (Quick.Step) in the bunch sprint.
T-Mobile had worked hard along with the Rabobank team to bring back the breakaway of Freddy Bichot (Agritubel) and Marco Marcato (Team L.P.R), but their work resulted in only a 9th place finish by Roger Hammond. "Mark crashed around two kilometres from the line," said T-Mobile Team sporting director Tristan Hoffman on the team's website, www.t-mobile-team.com. "Fortunately, he wasn't injured but the chance had gone."
"These things happen," continued Hoffman. "The most important things was that Mark was uninjured." The team will have few opportunities to win with the season drawing to a close next week, but Hoffman was happy with its performance despite the crash. "The team were impressive in the chase and in driving the bunch to the finish. That is great to see from the lads at the end of a long season."