By Gregor Brown
The Scheldeprijs one-day race near Antwerp produces crashes nearly every year in its final. This year, the riders made it through the rain-soaked final straight only to crash into a photographer after the finish line.
"We had a plan to go for a win, it was very nice it worked," winner Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) said afterwards. "However, you never know with this race, there are always crashes in this final."
Jonathan Cantwell (Saxo Bank) was the worst off with a collapsed lung. Others crashed at two kilometres out. It's the fourth crash-marred finish in 10 years, adding to Wouter Weylandt's last year, Alessandro Petacchi's in 2009 and Ludovic Capelle's in 2003.
The mid-week Flanders' classic is traditionally suited to sprinters thanks to its relatively short distance, 200 kilometres, and a lack of climbs.
"The circuit is chaotic," Theo Bos (Rabobank) told Cycling Weekly after finishing third. "Everyone arrives fresh and nervous, and wants to be in the front."
Race director, Ronald De Witte said the riders are more to blame. He added that he wouldn't take the finish from the city of Schoten.
"Schoten is a tradition, it's held the finish for 100 years," he explained. "I'd raise hell if it changed, I'd resign. It would not be fair for Schoten's people."
Worlds 2013 in trouble?
The 2013 World Championships stands on shaky ground without confirmation of funds. The Italian cycling federation (FCI) president, Renato Di Rocco met with the race committee and the vice Mayor of Florence last week to try to solve the problem.
Di Rocco spoke to La Gazzetta dello Sport about Italy's Interim Government, led by Mario Monti and its impact on the Worlds in Florence. He said, "We are really worried due to the government's delay in confirming the financial commitments made by the previous government for the 2013 Worlds in Tuscany."
Florence won the right to host the World Championships in 2010. The area is rich in cycling history and home of Gino Bartali, but Tuscany has never held the title race.
Cancellara refocuses on Olympics after crash
Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) will refocus on the Olympics after fracturing his collarbone in the Tour of Flanders on Sunday. He announced his decision, and that his wife was pregnant with their second child, in a press conference on Tuesday in Basel, Switzerland.
"I'm happy that the surgery went well, but I'm still in pain," he said in a press release. "I'm going to rest a couple of days, maybe even a week, and then resume training. I had two major goals this season: the classics and the Olympics. The spring campaign is unfortunately over for me now. Because I had planned a break after the classics anyway, my build-up towards London will not change."
The Swiss said that his plan is to return to competition in May, possibly at the Bayern Rundfahrt.
Hincapie sets Flanders record
George Hincapie (BMC Racing) made history on Sunday, becoming the only cyclist to complete 17 editions of the Tour of Flanders.
The 38-year-old American said in a press release, "This is one of the hardest races in the world so a guy from New York jumping in and breaking the record is pretty cool. Unless you really know about cycling, it's hard to describe how important [Flanders] is in the cycling world."
Hincapie first competed in Flanders when he was 20, in 1994. In 2006, he placed third. He also tied the record of 16 Tour de France starts last year. In seven of those editions, he supported Lance Armstrong to victory.
In Milan-San Remo last month, he tied the record number of participations at 14.
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