London 2012 - Cavendish wins Olympic test event

Sun, 14 Aug 12:37:00 2011

Britain's Mark Cavendish won the London-Surrey Cycle Classic in a bunch sprint finish on The Mall.

London 2012 - Cavendish wins test event

The Manx Missile was too quick for Italy's Sacha Modolo and Frenchman Samuel Dumoulin at the end of the 140km race along a shortened version of the route planned for next year's Olympic road race.

A crash involving American sprinter Tyler Farrar in the closing stages split the bunch and Cavendish burst away from a group of 20 riders to add the victory to his vast palmares.

Stuart O'Grady (Australia), Michal Golas (Poland), Borut Bozic (Slovenia), Alexander Kristoff (Norway) and Matt Goss (Australia) plus Brits Ian Bibby and Andrew Tennant completed the top 10.

The peloton consisted of a mixture of national teams and British professional teams and a four-man break featuring three home riders Kristian House (Rapha Condor Sharp), Tom Murray (Sigma Sport), Liam Holohan (Team Raleigh) plus Cleberson Weber (Brazil) invigorated proceedings.

They built up an advantage of over six and a half minutes as they hit the first climb at Box Hill after travelling over Putney Bridge, through Richmond Park and southwards to Hampton Court, Weybridge, Woking, Guildford and Dorking.

Weber and then Murray were dropped on the second ascent of the Zig-Zags climb in Surrey and as the bunch charged back to London, House and Holohan saw their lead cut to 90 seconds with 30km to go.

With only two laps of the Box Hill circuit on the parcours, as opposed to nine at London 2012, and with a long run-in to the finish line, the race was tipped as one for the sprinters and so it proved as the pair of escapees were eventually caught with just under 10km remaining.

A counter attack by Team Sky's Norwegian Kurt Asle Arvesen was foiled before the incident involving Farrar but there was no stopping Cavendish who will now turn his attentions to the third Grand Tour of the season, the Vuelta a Espana which starts on Saturday.

"It's nice to win but today gives me no indication about what will happen at London 2012," said Cavendish.

"The difference between the outcome of the race between two laps of Box Hill and nine is huge. This was never going to be a realistic taste of how the Olympic road race will go and we all knew that.

"I'm just very happy to win and the team did a great job for me. It's a spectacular result for them.

"We've got an incredible group of guys, the strongest team we've ever had, and it bodes well for the world road race and the Olympics."

Lee Walker - follow me on Twitter @leewalk498 / Eurosport

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