Marcel Kittel won his biggest race of the season, the Scheldeprijs today in Schoten, Belgium. It was his biggest win since last year's Vuelta a España stage, but something, rather someone was missing - Sky's Mark Cavendish.
"When I heard he was not here I was little disappointed," the team Argos-Shimano rider said in a press conference near Antwerp. "I was looking forward to a sprint against him. He has a very good reason to stay at home."
Cavendish's girlfriend Peta Todd gave birth to the couple's first child, Delilah Grace, last night. He wrote on Twitter, "So proud of my girls! Happiest day of my life."
Cavendish took his first professional win in the one-day Scheldeprijs race in 2007. He returned the following year and pipped Tom Boonen at the line for his second win. Last year, he won for a third time and matched Piet Oellibrandt's record of three wins.
Kittel won two stages in the Tour of Oman when Cavendish finished eighth and 14th, but the duo have yet to sprint head-to-head.
"After my Tour of Oman stage wins, Cavendish was the first to congratulate me," Kittel explained to a group of 10 journalists. He wanted to duel with Cavendish in the Scheldeprijs and said, "This was the moment I was looking forward to!"
They will likely cross swords in the Tour de France, where Cavendish already has won 20 times. Kittel hopes to make his debut in his second professional year and says his intention is to win a stage.
"If we pull together as we did in the Vuelta last year," said Kittel, "a win is possible."
His team is waiting for a nod from race organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO). It wants one of the four wildcard invitations to race with the 18 WorldTour teams.
Race director Christian Prudhomme met with the team on Friday in Rotterdam when it announced its new sponsor Argos.
Kittel stays upright to win 2012 Scheldeprijs
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Founded in 1891, Cycling Weekly and its team of expert journalists brings cyclists in-depth reviews, extensive coverage of both professional and domestic racing, as well as fitness advice and 'brew a cuppa and put your feet up' features. Cycling Weekly serves its audience across a range of platforms, from good old-fashioned print to online journalism, and video.
We don't know whether we should ride hard or party harder in Cycology's new gravel shirts
Designs seek inspiration from Frida Kahlo and Eddy Merckx and feature cacti, skulls and flowers
By Luke Friend • Published
The six golden rules of nutrition for over 40s
Your body changes over time, and so do your nutritional needs - but it’s easy to adapt and stay strong, here's how...
By Dr Marc Bubbs • Published
‘You can see the power you need to survive the Tour de France’ - Marcel Kittel reflects on his most successful years
Marcel Kittel retired from professional cycling as not only one of the best sprinters of his generation, but one of the most successful in the history of the Tour de France.
By Alex Ballinger • Published
Marcel Kittel talks us through his best year
Marcel Kittel has been pondering the question for a week. “How do you define your best year? Do you take victories as the most important factor?” It was what Chris Marshall Bell assumed when he first made contact for this interview
By Simon Richardson • Published
‘Cycling is beautiful but professional sport is another story’: Marcel Kittel on his decision to retire at 31
Marcel Kittel has shared more of his motivation for retiring from pro racing at 31.
By Alex Ballinger • Published
'I took some time for myself': Marcel Kittel gives update on his time off the bike
The German sprinter quit his Katusha-Alpecin team in May
By Jonny Long • Pu