CAVENDISH 'CATAPULTED' TO WIN SCHELDEPRIJS
Britain’s Mark Cavendish told CW that Wednesday’s victory in the Scheldeprijs came after he “catapulted past [Quick Step’s Geert Steegmans] to win. I was giving it 100 percent, but I still had another 150 metres in me.”
The delighted T-Mobile rider said he was; “really happy to have won, considering the standard of the field and the sprinters who were there. The speed of the race, too, was really high.”
Another factor that particularly pleased him was being able to come back to take on the best after such a tough spring having been plagued with illnesses since half-way through the Etoile de Besseges in February. He is still riding with a gash in one hand caused by a crash.
“My form’s at barely 50 percent of what it could be, most of the spring I’ve just been trying to recover. But this was a great course for me, the right distance and the right kind of terrain.”
The fact that Cavendish had no lead-out man made his acheivement even more remarkable. “[Team manager] Allan Peiper gave me a free role to play today and that’s what I did. Two kilometres from the finish I nearly decked it, but then just got back on.”
“There were other riders dropping back, which made it difficult, and I started the final sprint about eight wheels back. I didn’t even see McEwen [who finished second], I was just concentrating on my own sprint.”
“Going through the final lap three times helped me a lot to work things out. But on the last lap there was a little kink in the last part of the course which pushed me back about 15 places. Then I sort of floated back through to the front end again.”
“Mark’s got the kind of talent and spirit which means he can fight back well from illness, and turn it around.” Peiper told CW.
“He stuck it out here in Belgium all the way through the spring races - even though there were times when he finished racing and training he was that tired he was crosseyed, and didn’t have the strength to take his race clothes off.”
“But he’s got a talent and spirit not many other riders have.”
You can view Luc Claessen's gallery of photos from the event by clicking here