96th Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen - 1.HC Belgium, April 16, 2008
Cavendish sneaks by celebrating Boonen Overconfident Paris-Roubaix winner finishes second
Mark Cavendish, 22 year-old from the Isle of Man, returned to Schoten (Antwerp) to repeat in the Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen, the site of his first professional win last year. The young High Road rider came flying by like a rocket on the finishing straight in Schoten, invisible to Tom Boonen and the crowd, which was cheering excitedly to see the Paris-Roubaix champion take another win.
As Boonen lifted his arms in a victory salute, Cavendish made a last, desperate lunge to the line, and managed to come by under the Belgians left arm to win by the closest of margins.
Last year's runner-up, Robbie McEwen of Silence-Lotto, stayed winless for the year, taking third place, but is inching closer to his first season victory, while Erik Zabel (Milram) repeated his fourth place finish from Gent-Wevelgem.
Boonen looked dejected when he realised his error and the crowd went silent, while a jubilant Cavendish stepped off his bike and hugged each member of his team. "The win is special for me because a year ago I won my first professional bike race here," the beaming Brit said after the finish. He admitted that "if he [Boonen] didn't put his hands up, I don't know if I would have won." Cavendish was on Wouter Weylandt's wheel and decided to pass on the left. "In De Panne, I passed on the right and I won by three bike lengths. Today, it didn't go so right," Cavendish described how he almost lost the race.
"I sprinted and I thought I had won," noted Boonen. "I didn't see anybody. ... He [Cavendish] is very fast and is like McEwen with a great acceleration in the last 50 metres. I have won here two times and we did our best, but it didn't work out this time." Cavendish concurred, stating that "I am not the strongest, but I think I am the fastest. You could see my speed at the end."
Results 1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team High Road 4.59.15 (41.503 km/h) 2 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step 3 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Silence - Lotto 4 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram 5 Stefan Van Dijk (Ned) Mitsubishi-Jartazi 6 Fabien Bacquet (Fra) Skil-Shimano 7 Gregory Henderson (NZl) Team High Road 8 Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Quick Step 9 Daniel Musiol (Ger) Team Volksbank 10 Borut Bozic (Slo) Cycle Collstrop