Mark Cavendish took an incredible win in Milan-San Remo today, beating Heinrich Haussler by just a few centimetres on the line on the Italian riviera.
The British sprinter only just caught Haussler after the German Cervelo rider had gone for a long sprint and jumped clear from a chaotic group as it hurtled towards the line.
Cavendish was the only rider whose sprint was powerful enough to go after Haussler, and he just managed to throw his bike across the line in first place. Although Cavendish threw his arms in the air, there was a tense few minutes before the official result was announced.
Both Haussler and Cavendish caught all the other big name sprinters unawares as Tom Boonen, Thor Hushovd, Daniele Bennati and Alessandro Petacchi were left back in the bunch of around 50 riders that made it over the final climb of the Poggio together.
It was another amazing performance by the Brit who had said last week that he was only going to Italy to learn about the race. But when the lead group failed to split over the last two climbs his thoughts must have turned to victory.
Cavendish’s win is the second ever for a Brit in Milan-San Remo after Tom Simpson won in 1964. It is Cavendish’s 34th professional win of his career.
Cavendish’s next race will be the Madison at the track world championships in Poland next week.
RESULT: 2009 Milan-San Remo
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Columbia-Highroad 298km in 6hrs 42mins 45secs
2. Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervelo at same time
3. Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo at two secs
4. Allan Davis (Aus) Quick Step
5. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) LPR Brakes
6. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas
7. Aitor Galdos (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
8. Enrico Rossi (Ita) Ceramica Flaminia
9. Luca Paolini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
10. Peter Velits (Svk) Milram
11. Lloyd Mondory (Fra) Ag2r
12. Martin Elmiger (Swi) Ag2r
13. Greg van Avermaet (Bel) Silence-Lotto
14. Karsten Kroon (Ned) Saxo Bank
15. Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step
16. Assan Bazayev (Kaz) Astana
17. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Lampre-NGC
18. Christian Knees (Ger) Team Milram
19. Julian Dean (NZl) Garmin-Slipstream
20. Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-NGC all at same time.
92. Roger Hammond (GB) Cervelo at 8mins 19secs
108. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Garmin-Slipstream
133. Jeremy Hunt (GB) Cervelo both same time
DNF Ian Stannard (GB) ISD
125. Lance Armstrong (USA) at 8mins 19secs.
Cavendish on his historic Milan-San Remo win
Analysis: Cavendish on his way to becoming one of the greats
Download Cavendish’s win as your PC/Mac desktop wallpaper
The all-time list of British pro winners
Cycling Weekly’s all-time ranking of British pros: Cav moves up
Milan-San Remo 2009 preview