Kittel beats Cavendish to win Scheldeprijs

German pips Dimension Data rider in bunch sprint

Marcel Kittel (Etixx Quickstep) won his fourth Scheldeprijs title on Wednesday after a sprint finish against Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data).

The German led out the sprint with Cavendish waiting until the final 100 meters before trying to counter. Despite a valiant effort from the British rider, Kittel was able to hold on and take the win. Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) finished third.

Kittel’s win puts him ahead of Cavendish in the all-time record books with the German on four wins in Scheldeprijs and Cavendish stuck on three.

“The team did a super job to get me in the right position. It was a good fight with Mark,” Kittel said at the finish. 

“I said before the race that I'm not here to make history, I'm racing for joy, for pleasure, just riding my bike. It's even better if I could get the record here for the wins in the Scheldeprijs. I like this race. Sometimes it's not easy, like today. You normally always have the best sprinters here, and it's great to win.”

Kittel, of course, replaced Cavendish at Etixx over the winter with the British rider moving to Dimension Data. Such sub-plots mattered little today, with the win the only objective for both riders. They of weren’t the only contenders who lined up in Antwerp with Greipel, Elia Viviani (Team Sky), and defending champion Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) all potential winners.

The riders lined up in the shadow of the MAS Pavilion museum in the renovated Antwerp docks, using the modern building to protect them from the cold western wind that was blowing across northern Belgium.

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Segafredo) chatted calmly with Germany’s Robert Wagner (LottoNL-Jumbo), while Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) avoided the clamour of the Belgian cycling fans by quickly signing on and then only returning to the start area after the first riders rolled away for the 208km race.

With the grey skies gathering, none of the 162 starters were in the mood to race hard from the start. The early break of the day formed soon after the official race start in Schoten. In it were Lieuwe Westra (Astana), Sander Helven (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Berden De Vries (Roompot), French national champion Steven Tronet (Fortuneo-Vital Concept), Nico Denz (AG2R La Mondiale) and Tomasz Kiendys (CCC Sprandi Polkowice). Other riders tried to go across but were quickly controlled before the peloton allowed the six to open a lead of three minutes.

The gap rose to five minutes after 45 kilometers of racing, with a tailwind helping the break as they headed north, despite rain beginning to fall. After a 100km the gap was down to three minutes as the different sprinters’ team put a rider on the front of the peloton to help the chase. The peloton split into several groups after 150km of racing, with Sagan caught behind but the rainbow jersey was soon back up front with some help from two teammates.

The break ran out of steam as the race approached the finish area. Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) jumped away alone and was then joined by Brian Van Goethem (Rompoot). They got the first cheer from the crowd but never opened a huge advantage. Belgian national champion Preben Van Hecke (Topsport Vlaanderen) and Sebastien Turgot (AG2R La Mondiale) tried to go across, but with the likes of Tom Boonen (Etixx-QuickStep) helping with the chase, they were quickly pulled back.

The rain started to come down hard with 40km left to race and this sparked the early retirement of Ian Stannard (Team Sky) who preferred to save himself for Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix. Other riders preferred to stay on or near the front to avoid possible crashes but the riders seemed to respect each others' safety as the circuit twisted around the country roads east of Antwerp.

The wind added an extra factor to the race, with the peloton lined out as the speed increased. Dimension Data rode carefully to protect Cavendish and the hint of an echelon saw several riders go out the back. Boonen ensured he was well placed but after dropping off young teammate Erik Baska, Sagan sat up and slipped out of the race via the back door, preferring to avoid any risks before Paris-Roubaix.

Dimension Data continued to lead the race as the last lap approached with Matt Brammeier on the front for the African team before Lotto Soudal and Etixx-Quickstep also moved up. The pace was not yet high as the bell rang for the start of the final 18.6km lap around Schoten.

With the race approaching the final 10 kilometers Etixx, Lotto Soudal and Dimension Data vied for control but it wasn’t until the final 3km that Kittel’s team began to dominate. Tyler Farrar, who had helped Cavendish position himself on Kittel’s back wheel – almost a victory in itself given the effort it required – peeled off, leaving Kittel, Cavendish and Greipel as the three best positioned sprinters.

Kittel led the sprint out, and it quickly became apparent that Griepel lacked the freshness in his legs to compete. Cavendish had hung on, and he opted to come around Kittel’s right. He was pulling level as the line approached but Kittel had more in the tank and one last push for the line saw the Etixx rider come out on top.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Marcel Kittel (Ger) Etixx - Quick-Step4:54:05 
2Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data  
3André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal  
4Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo  
5Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Trek-Segafredo  
6Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Team Sky  
7Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin  
8Wouter Wippert (Ned) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
9Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
10Daniel Mclay (GBr) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
11Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
12Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Argon 18  
13Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
14Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
15Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha  
16Boris Vallee (Bel) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
17Marc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ0:00:03 
18André Looij (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
19Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R La Mondiale  
20Erik Baska (Svk) Tinkoff Team  
21Jakub Mareczko (Ita) Southeast - Venezuela  
22Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step  
23Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ  
24Eryk Laton (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
25Jaroslaw Marycz (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
26Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Team Katusha  
27Jonas Rickaert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:00:09 
28Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) Etixx - Quick-Step  
29Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin0:00:11 
30Wesley Kreder (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
31Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
32Jack Bauer (NZl) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
33Jesper Asselman (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
34Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Soudal0:00:14 
35Barry Markus (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
36Franck Bonnamour (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept0:00:20 
37Rayane Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
38Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Soudal  
39Maxime Farazijn (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
40Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) FDJ  
41Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
42Hugo Houle (Can) AG2R La Mondiale  
43Boy Van Poppel (Ned) Trek-Segafredo  
44Arman Kamyshev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
45Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
46Elia Viviani (Ita) Team Sky0:00:23 
47Michael Gogl (Aut) Tinkoff Team0:00:25 
48Matteo Draperi (Ita) Southeast - Venezuela  
49Juraj Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff Team  
50Michal Kolár (Svk) Tinkoff Team  
51Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Tinkoff Team  
52Sébastien Turgot (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
53Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Astana Pro Team  
54Bert De Backer (Bel) Team Giant-Alpecin  
55Adrian Kurek (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
56Grégory Rast (Swi) Trek-Segafredo  
57Pavel Brutt (Rus) Tinkoff Team  
58Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin  
59Ryan Mullen (Irl) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
60Tyler Farrar (USA) Dimension Data0:00:29 
61Kenny De Haes (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
62Simone Ponzi (Ita) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
63Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
64Tim Declercq (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
65Shane Archbold (NZl) Bora-Argon 18  
66Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
67Jelle Wallays (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
68Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
69Robert Wagner (Ger) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
70Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Trek-Segafredo  
71Michael Morkov (Den) Team Katusha  
72Rudiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Argon 180:00:39 
73Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Etixx - Quick-Step  
74Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension Data  
75Alexander Porsev (Rus) Team Katusha  
76Liam Bertazzo (Ita) Southeast - Venezuela0:00:42 
77Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Sky  
78Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:00:49 
79Scott Thwaites (GBr) Bora-Argon 180:00:51 
80Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Trek-Segafredo0:01:07 
81Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
82Jan Barta (Cze) Bora-Argon 180:01:18 
83Ivar Slik (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
84Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Team Katusha0:01:20 
85Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step0:01:23 
86Nick Dougall (RSA) Dimension Data0:01:27 
87Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky0:01:31 
88Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:01:41 
89Enrique Sanz (Spa) Southeast - Venezuela0:01:44 
90Robin Stenuit (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:01:50 
91Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Bora-Argon 180:01:52 
92Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Bora-Argon 180:02:03 
93Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
94Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Direct Energie0:02:07 
95Borut Bozic (Slo) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
96Sjoerd Van Ginneken (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
97Maarten Wynants (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
98Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step0:02:15 
99Twan Castelijns (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo0:02:18 
100Jos Van Emden (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
101Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
102Kenneth Van Bilsen (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
103Tom Boonen (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step  
104Julien Morice (Fra) Direct Energie  
105Brian Van Goethem (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
106Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
107Stijn Steels (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
108Marco Haller (Aut) Team Katusha0:02:25 
109Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie0:02:44 
110Murilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) FDJ0:03:05 
111Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek-Segafredo  
112Matt Brammeier (Irl) Dimension Data  
113Adam Blythe (GBr) Tinkoff Team  
114Pierre-Henri Lecuisinier (Fra) FDJ  
115Ryan Anderson (Can) Direct Energie  
116Jesse Sergent (NZl) AG2R La Mondiale  
117Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
118Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
119Yohann Gene (Fra) Direct Energie  
120Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
121Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Dimension Data0:04:10 
122Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky  
123Antoine Duchesne (Can) Direct Energie  
124Tom Devriendt (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
125Frederik Frison (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
126Stijn Devolder (Bel) Trek-Segafredo  
127Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana Pro Team  
128Maxime Daniel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:05:12 
129Steven Tronet (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
130Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin  
131Vegard Breen (Nor) Fortuneo - Vital Concept0:05:17 
132Daniel Hoelgaard (Nor) FDJ  
133Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
134Kristoffer Skjerping (Nor) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
135Brice Feillu (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
136Andrew Fenn (GBr) Team Sky  
137Jay Robert Thomson (RSA) Dimension Data0:05:48 
138Alan Marangoni (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
139Steven Lammertink (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo0:07:56 
140Davide Martinelli (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step  
141Nico Denz (Ger) AG2R La Mondiale  
142Jean-Marc Bideau (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
143Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut) Bora-Argon 18  
144Andrea Dal Col (Ita) Southeast - Venezuela  
145Maxime Cam (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
146Lander Seynaeve (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
147Mirko Trosino (Ita) Southeast - Venezuela  
148Chad Haga (USA) Team Giant-Alpecin  
149Nikolay Mihaylov (Bul) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
150Mirko Tedeschi (Ita) Southeast - Venezuela  
DNFNils Politt (Ger) Team Katusha  
DNFDamien Gaudin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFMaxat Ayazbayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
DNFLars Boom (Ned) Astana Pro Team  
DNFIan Stannard (GBr) Team Sky  
DNFPeter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff Team  
DNFTomasz Kiendys (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
DNFAdrien Petit (Fra) Direct Energie  
DNFBerden De Vries (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton  
DNFAimé Degendt (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFSander Helven (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFJérôme Baugnies (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNSLaurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro Team  

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