Mark Cavendish to lead Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at the Classic Brugge-De Panne

Manxman will battle it out with the fast men at Belgian race that has become a sprinter's classic

Mark Cavendish
Mark Cavendish shepherded by his teammates at Milano-Torino last week
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mark Cavendish is to lead Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at the Minerva Classic Brugge-De Panne on Wednesday.

Fresh from his win at Milano-Torino last week, the Manxman will be aiming for yet another first-time victory in a race, which would be the 160th of his career.

He will be joined once again by his star leadout man Michael Mørkøv, who has been present for four of Quick-Step's wins so far in 2022.

It will be Cavendish's first race in Belgium this year for his Belgian team, and his first WorldTour one-day event of the season.

He has never won the Classic Brugge-De Panne in its current incarnation as a one-day race, but won five stages when it was the Driedaagse de Panne, or three days of De Panne: twice in both 2008 and 2009, and once in 2013, when he was also riding for Quick-Step.

Tom Steels, the team's sports director, said that it looked unlikely that there would be any sort of crosswind-caused chaos on Wednesday.

“De Panne is flat, but by no means an easy race," Steels said. "We have several laps to tackle and we will go through De Moeren, always known for the crosswinds that can bring chaos in the peloton. It remains to be seen if it will happen also on Wednesday, but at the moment this scenario doesn’t look likely. 

"We are sending to the start a solid and determined team capable of controlling the race, and if it comes down to a bunch sprint, Mark has several guys he can rely on to be up there and go for another good result."

Other sprinters that are expected line up on Wednesday include Dylan Groenewegen of BikeExchange-Jayco, Tim Merlier of Alpecin-Fenix, and Sam Bennett of Bora-Hansgrohe. 

Bennett is the defending champion, and Groenewegen won it in 2018. The only year not won in a sprint since it has been a one-day event was 2020, when Yves Lampaert of Quick-Step attacked on his own with 4km to go.

Caleb Ewan was supposed to be part of Lotto-Soudal's team at the race, but is yet to recover from the stomach flu that kept him out of Milan-San Remo on Saturday, his team reported.

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Adam Becket
Senior news and features writer

Adam is Cycling Weekly’s senior news and feature writer – his greatest love is road racing but as long as he is cycling on tarmac, he's happy. Before joining Cycling Weekly he spent two years writing for Procycling, where he interviewed riders and wrote about racing, speaking to people as varied as Demi Vollering to Philippe Gilbert. Before cycling took over his professional life, he covered ecclesiastical matters at the world’s largest Anglican newspaper and politics at Business Insider. Don't ask how that is related to cycling.