Mark Cavendish (High Road) showed he is ready for the sprints in the Tour de France by winning the last stage of the Ster Elektrotoer in Holland on Saturday.
Cavendish finished the Giro at the end of May and has not raced since but he clearly still has his explosive finishing sprint and used it to beat his rivals with relative ease at the end of the 150km stage.
Friday?s stage winner Tom Boonen did not contest the sprint but Cavendish beat Robbie Hunter (Barloworld) and Kenny van Hummel (Skil-Shimano) by almost two bike lengths.
Italy?s Enrico Gasparotto (Barloworld) sealed overall victory in the short stage race held in Holland and Belgium.
Cavendish?s win is a clear indication he can win sprints in the Tour de France. Hunter is on form ready for the Tour after recently winning a sprint in the CTT Correios race in Portugal. The experienced South African was always in the results in the Tour de France sprints last year and won in Montpellier.
If Cavendish is well protected by several High Road team mates and gets a clear run to the line, there is no reason why he could not win the sprint on any of the flat stages early in the race. He has already beaten main rivals Robbie McEwen, Daniele Bennati and Oscar Freire this year and is widely acknowledged as the fastest sprinter in the peloton at the moment.
Cavendish will now have a few days at home before travelling to Yorkshire for next weekend?s British national road race championships.
This latest victory takes Cavendish’s total of professional wins this year to seven, and career wins to 18 in less than two years as a pro. He currently sits in eighth place in Cycling Weekly’s all-time list of British pro winners.