An upbeat Mark Cavendish has confirmed that he will be gunning to be first across the line in Ghent-Wevelgem next week.
?After winning this stage at De Panne [stage two on Wednesday] I?m hoping for a victory in Wevelgem as well as the Scheldprijs [a week later].? Cavendish told Cycling Weekly. The Briton?s victory in Scheldeprijs was his first in 2007 and his first big win.
The Briton said that he had not had a lead out in the final sprint at De Panne because of the chaotic dash for the line.
?The team were with me up until 1,200 metres to go, and did a brilliant job pulling back in the earlier move [of three].?
?But then it got really risky, really nervous and chaotic. There were lots of sprinters from smaller teams around, which made it more complicated.?
“But I was so far ahead of the rest when I crossed the line I even had time to think about putting my hands in the air.”
De Panne is his first road-race win of 2008. Cavendish had a near miss in the Tour of California when he won but was disqualified by the judges for allegedly taking a tow earlier in the stage. High Road and Cavendish both strongly disputed the decision.
Since then has come an unforgettable victory in the Madison with Bradley Wiggins last week in Manchester’s Track World’s.
Before Wevelgem, though, is another opportunity for Cavendish in De Panne – the first sector of stage three on Thursday morning. Normally this, too, ends in a sprint.
Cavendish will not take part in Flanders this weekend, but will be back in Belgian racing in Wevelgem next Wednesday.
Wevelgem?s only former British winner is Barry Hoban back in 1974, although Sean Yates and Cavendish High Road team-mate Roger Hammond both have picked up second places in the prestigious mid-week Classic – Hammond as recently as last year.