From the point that his Sky Procycling teammates took up station on the front of the peloton with 60km to go in the Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, Mark Cavendish never looked like losing today, and so it proved as he swept to an easy bunch sprint win over FDJ-Big Mat’s Yauheni Hutarovich with Vacansoleil-DCM’s Kenny Van Hummel in third.
The Sky train let a late six-man move assemble around previous escapees Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Niko Eeckhout (An Post-Sean Kelly) and take almost a minute lead before they steadily and slowly accelerated and pulled them back in, catching the last two riders, Niko and Jimmy Engoulvent (Saur-Sojasun) with only five km to go.
Renshaw’s Rabobank team and Greipel’s Lotto-Belisol squad mixed it on the run-in, only to be found a little short of power, as the Sky riders finally gelled fully and used up their leadout men almost to perfection, delivering Cavendish to a straightforward sprint victory, albeit he was out on his own just under 300m from the finish – a little too far for his liking.
Post race interview live on Belgian TV and Cavendish reckoned he couldn’t really take much credit for this win, as his team looked after him superbly well all day. He singled out Eisel for praise, saying he never left Cav’s side the whole time.
The Sky train didn’t seem to be running on all cylinders in Oman, and Cavendish admitted to giving his teammates a bit of a hard time – he felt they might have been justified this weekend in telling him to ‘f-off’ (although Cav being Cav, he wasn’