KBK for MBE!
Mark Cavendish, awarded the prestigious Member of the British Empire award last year, won todays’ Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne in dominating style. Which is to say, he won in the usual way, wheels ahead of everyone, definitively faster.
While he and his Sky teammates had their difficulties and mishaps in Qatar and Oman, the man in the rainbow jersey showed once again that there is only one true fast man and it isn’t Greipel or Farrar or other pretenders. The German was boxed and had to settle for 10th while the Battling Buddhist was off in the distance at 18th.
FDJ-BigMat rider Yauheni Hutarovich and Vacansoleil-DCM’s Kenny Van Hummel took second and third. Those qualify as great results and their squads are thrilled but they never had a shot at the win.
After some illness and miscues and getting chopped by some French rider down in the desert, Cavendish and his Sky train worked the race to perfection. Not even stomach problems could slow down Cavendish.
“After the cobbles I told CJ that I didn’t feel so good,” Cavendish said after the win. “Once we took control it got better although I was still vomiting. It’s incredible. I don’t know if I can take any credit for this win. The whole day they looked after me. I was never in the wind and always in the front of the peloton. It’s a great win.”
It was also an easy win with words like armchair ride and textbook thrown out by the Manxman. “I just sat there behind my guys until the finish. It was incredible,” said Cav.
“I’m so, so happy. I wanted to make this jersey proud. It’s my first time racing Kuurne but there’s nowhere better to show of this jersey than in Belgium because of what cycling means to the people. I wanted to come and do this here.”
It took roughly 50k for the break to go but go they did. Seven riders made the escape: Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Niko Eeckhout (An Post-Sean Kelly), Jérôme Baugnies (Team Netapp), Koen Barbé (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony), Gilles Devillers (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony), Justin Van Hoecke (Wallonie Bruxelles-Credit Agricole) and Julien Fouchard (Cofidis, le credit en ligne). After all, they can’t have the TV cameras on Cavendish for the entire 198 kilometers — he’s not THAT photogenic.
They carved out a four minute advantage while waiting for Sky to sweep them up. The climb of Oude Kwaremont started to split things up and tear things apart. A group of about twenty-five riders including Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quickstep), Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Barracuda) and John Degenkolb (Project 1t4i) jumped ahead of the peloton and went after the break.
The Mr, Excitment award goes to old man Niko Eeckhout. The 41 year old fought to the bitter end managed to stay away until about the 10K mark. He must to drinking cases of Lance Armstrong’s “healthy” energy drink FSR.
Once everything came together in the closing circuits, it was the Sky show. With four riders up front driving it like old school HTC-Highroad, victory was a foregone conclusion. Step on podium, spray champagne, serve notice that while the jersey has changed, the results are still the same.