Theo Bos (Cervelo) beat Manxman Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) in a sprint showdown to win the one-day Clasica de Almeria in Spain on Sunday.
The Dutch former track sprint world champion had the measure of his rivals in the final run-in to the line in Almeria, opening up his sprint with 300m to go. Cavendish came home in second, with Graeme Brown (Rabobank) completing the podium positions in third.
It wasn’t an easy win by any means. Bos had earlier been dropped on one of the race’s climbs, and was brought back into the bunch by his Cervelo team-mates. The reward was his first win of the season.
“It was a pretty hard course today,” Bos said after his victory. “At the beginning of the race I was in the second group along with Cavendish. In the downhill I was too far behind and the group split.
“Inigo Cuesta, Philip Deignan and Marcel Wyss set the tempo on the front. Then we were able to come back into the peloton and prepare for the sprint. It was a strange situation in the final as no team was able to control the bunch.
“I was too far behind and nobody went and I was in pretty good position in the last 300 metres. When we got close to the finish nobody started to sprint so I decided to go full gas. Cavendish waited long and he was not able to pass me in the last few metres.”
Britain’s other representative at the race was Steve Cummings (Team Sky), who crossed the line in 69th spot, 41 seconds behind Bos.
Cav recovering from tooth problems
Cavendish has not been enjoying the best start to his season so far, but a second place in Almeria shows that he is coming into some form.
The Manx sprint star elected to delay the start of his 2010 campaign after suffering from a long-standing tooth problem. Rather than commencing his season at the Tour of Qatar in early February, he kicked his racing off at the Tour of Andalusia last week.
Cavendish, now sporting a dental brace, came away from Andalusia empty-handed – the first multi-day race in which he has not won a stage since April 2008. He abandoned the race part-way through the final, rain-lashed stage.
Last season, Cavendish took 23 victories, including Milan-San Remo, stages of the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France – more wins than any other rider. He is Britain’s most prolific winner in the history of professional road cycling and tops CW’s all-time list of British pro winners.
Cavendish’s big aim for 2010 is to secure the points classification winner’s green jersey at the Tour de France in July. Last year Cavendish lost the jersey to Bos’s Cervelo team-mate Thor Hushovd. Before then, Cavendish will be defending his 2009 win at Milan-San Remo (March 20).
Bos leaves 2009 controversy behind
Bos’s victory in Almeria is in stark contrast to a year ago, when the Dutch sprinter found himself at the centre of controversy after appearing to pull another rider off his bike at the Presidential Cycling Tour in Turkey in April 2009.
Bos appeared to pull at the jersey of race leader Daryl Impey during the race’s final stage, causing Impey to crash into the barriers. The South African ended up requiring hospital treatment, and it was discovered the crash had fractured one of his vertebrae as well as causing severe cuts and bruising.
The Union Cycliste Internationale held a disciplinary hearing relating to the event in July 2009, and found Bos guilty of undermining the “image, reputation and interests of cycling” and suspended him from competition for a month from August 15 to September 14, 2009.
Clasica de Almeria 2010
1. Theo Bos (Ned) Cervelo 178km in 4-22-53
2. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Columbia
3. Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank
4. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne
5. Davide Apollonio (Ita) Cervelo
6. Michal Golas (Pol) Vascansoleil
7. Jorge Montenegro (Arg) Andalucia-Cajasur
8. Daniel Moreno (Spa) Omega Pharma-Lotto
9. Ruben Perez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
10. Jan Bakelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto all same time.
69. Steve Cummings (GB) Team Sky at 41secs