Mark Cavendish took a landmark result on Sunday, winning the four-day Ster ZLM Toer overall – his first ever general classification victory.
The Manxman may not have won a stage in the Dutch race, but a consistent performance paid dividends with his first yellow jersey. Stage three winner Lars Boom (Rabobank) finished in second place overall at eight seconds, with Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto-Belisol) in third at 14 seconds.
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The Sky sprinter really impressed on Saturday’s tough stage to Belgium, where he played a part in the lead group and dispensed with all of his sprint rivals. His strength on the stage’s short punchy climbs show he’s ready for taking on the similarly-profiled Olympic Games road race in July.
Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) took his second stage win of the 2012 race on Sunday in Boxtel to seal the race’s points classification. The German finished ahead of Mark Renshaw (Rabobank) and Roelandts. Cavendish did not mix it up in the front of the bunch, and finished in 16th place safe in the knowledge that the overall win was his.
“I’ve been second a couple of times in the past but this is my first GC win and I’m really, really happy with it,” Cavendish said after the win.
“The team rode so well yesterday, setting such a high tempo on the front that guys were going out the back all day. We were down to just 25 at the finish – it was incredible and I’m really proud of what we did.”
Before the London 2012 Games, Cavendish will set out to defend his green points classification jersey at the Tour de France, starting in Liege, Belgium, on Saturday June 30.
Ster ZLM Toer 2012, stage four: Schijndel-Boxtel, 163.5km
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano in 3-35-54
2. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Rabobank
3. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto-Belisol
4. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Barracuda
5. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha
6. Kenny Van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
7. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport-Vlaanderen
8. Rudiger Selig (Ger) Katusha
9. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Accent Jobs-Willems Verandas
10. Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank at same time
Final overall classification
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky in 16-11-55
2. Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank at 8 secs
3. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto-Belisol at 14 secs
4. Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Sky at 14 secs
5. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan at 18 secs
6. Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Rusvelo at 18 secs
7. Koen De Kort (Ned) Argos-Shimano at 18 secs
8. Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Katusha at 18 secs
9. Sven Vandousselaere (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen at 18 secs
10. Lars Bak (Den) Lotto-Belisol at 18 secs