Marcel Kittel (Argos Oil-Shimano) stayed upright to win a rain-affected Scheldeprijs this afternoon.
The German pipped Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Barracuda) and Theo Bos (Rabobank) in Schoten, while behind several riders skidded across the various sponsors' logos painted on the roads.
2011 (and three-time) winner Mark Cavendish was scheduled to compete, but skipped the event in preparation for the birth of his daughter. Delilah Grace Cavendish was born on Tuesday night.
A seven-man breakaway comprising of Kevin Van Melsen (Accent Jobs-Verandas Willems ), David Boucher (FDJ-Big Mat), Simon Lambert-Lemay (Spidertech), Kevin Hulsmans (Farnese Vini), Kevin Claeys (Landbouwkrediet), Sven Vandousselaere (Topsport Vlaanderen) and Kin San Wu (Champion System) escaped in the opening kilometers, with Hulsmans staying clear until the final 10km.
Crashes along wet and cobbled roads whittled the peloton down considerably on the approach to the finish.
Team Sky rode hard for Australian sprinter Chris Sutton in the closing stages, but appeared to go too hard, too soon. Garmin looked like they had set Farrar up perfectly, but Kittel timed his sprint perfectly to take the win.
Scheldeprijs 2012: Schoten-Schoten, 202km
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos Oil-Shimano in 4-30-55
2. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Barracuda
3. Theo Bos (Ned) Rabobank
4. Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM
5. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale
6. Elia Favilli (Ita) Farnese Vini
7. Alexandr Porsev (Rus) Katusha
8. Sebastien Turgot (Fra) Europcar
9. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan-Trek
10. Guillaume Boivin (Can) SpiderTech all at st.
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Nick Bull is an NCTJ qualified journalist who has written for a range of titles, as well as being a freelance writer at Beat Media Group, which provides reports for the PA Media wire which is circulated to the likes of the BBC and Eurosport. His work at Cycling Weekly predominantly dealt with professional cycling, and he now holds a role as PR & Digital Manager at SweetSpot Group, which organises the Tour of Britain.
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