Mark Cavendish wins the Scheldeprijs + Paris-Roubaix roundup
Third win in Schoten for Cav, but other Paris-Roubaix contenders weren't so lucky...
Mark Cavendish was back to winning ways this week as he overcame the challenge of Yauheni Hutarovich and Denis Galimzyanov to take the line at the 200km Scheldeprijs Classic. It's the third time the Manxman has won the race, which runs from Antwerp to Schoten and very much favours the sprinters; Cavendish's 2011 victory comes after back-to-back wins in 2007 and 2008.
The Scheldeprijs was less kind to some of the other riders looking to the Paris-Roubaix on the weekend. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) crashed out and broke three ribs, so he's out of the running. George Hincapie (BMC), who was targeting the Paris-Roubaix, came off twice and didn't finish. Hincapie, who has placed second in the Hell of the North behind Tom Boonen, has stated that winning the Paris Roubaix is his single biggest remaining target as a pro. With Taylor Phinney out with knee problems, BMC will be hoping that Hincapie recovers from the bumps and scrapes in time.
Three-time winner Boonen (Quick Step) also hit the deck on two separate occasions during the Scheldeprijs, and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo) fell in the finishing sprint. Both should recover to take the start line in Compiègne.
Kiwi Hayden Roulston (HTC Highroad) has announced that he won't be starting Paris-Roubaix after he was hit by a car on a training ride. Roulston dislocated his shoulder in the incident and is returning to New Zealand to prepare for the Tour of California in May.
Meanwhile Team Sky have announced that rising Welsh star and sometime road.cc pundit Geraint Thomas will be given a joint team leader's role on Sunday. Thomas looked sharp at the Tour of Flanders, finishing tenth after working for Juan Antonio Flecha for most of the race, and of course he has form over the cobbles, finishing second on stage 3 of the 2010 Tour de France behind Thor Hushovd.
Aluminium bikes too harsh? Mat's recent review of the Principia REX went some way to dispelling that myth, and Omega-Pharma Lotto have announced that they'll be riding Aluminium bikes (probably Canyon's Ulitmate AL) at the Paris Roubaix. They're also running 27mm tyres and cobble-proofing their team cars with rally-style sump plates. It's tough out there...