Cavendish triumphs in Kuurne
World champion Mark Cavendish won the Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne semi-classic race, a 195km ride around the Brussels region.
The British rider benefited from a perfect lead-out from Australian Chris Sutton to outsprint Belarusian Yauheni Hutarovich of the FDJ-Bigmat team as Dutchman Kenny van Hummel took third place for Vacansoleil.
Team Sky had Ian Stannard, Juan Antonio Flecha and Mathew Hayman in an early break but that was absorbed shortly after the Nokereberg, the last of the race's eight climbs, which came with 52km remaining.
A new seven-man escape group formed as the race concluded with two 16km loops around Kuurne but Cavendish's team were always in control and unleashed the Manxman with 270 metres to go.
Cavendish said: "It’s incredible. I don’t know if I can even take any credit for this win. The whole day they looked after me - I was never in the wind and I was always at the front of the peloton.
"The break went on the Oude-Kwaremont and we had three in the front. The other guys stayed with me but we stayed at the front of the peloton. When they brought it back they started riding immediately and just stayed there from 50 kilometres to go. They just rode to the finish. I’m so proud."
It was Cavendish's third victory this season after he won two stages at the Tour of Qatar earlier this month.