Ster ZLM Toer Stage 3: Cavendish on the Podium Again
Ster ZLM Toer - GP Jan van Heeswijk Stage 3 came down to a bunch sprint this time at tne emd pf 188.3km, and Mark Cavendish of Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team was 3rd to Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) and Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) on Friday.
The race came back together to almost guarantee a field sprint with 10km to go, and with 5km to go Argos-Shimano and Lotto-Belisol took control of the front of the peloton. A crash in the peloton took out some riders from the teams, but did not affect the sprinters. Argos-Shimano was on the front inside the final km, and were able to deliver Kittel to victory.
OPQS looks next to a 186km Stage 4 on Saturday. This will very likely not end in a group sprint, as the course is undulating and the final 3km uphill, including a sharp incline with only a few hundred meters to go.
"It wasn't an easy day today," Cavendish said. "We tried to stay at the front. Blanco was going to control it because they had the jersey. But we put one guy up there — Frantisek Rabon. He rode really well the whole day with the front guys to keep the strong group of eight close, and then to reel it in for a sprint finish. There was a good flat part in the last 40km so we knew it was going to be a sprint in a technical finishing circuit. So we tried to stay at the front. The team did really well. We all stayed together but Argos-Shimano had it strong at the end. I went for the sprint again and I couldn't match the guys like yesterday. I'm disappointed after the team worked well. It's a little like last year when I came here and didn't win a stage because I had a training block. We're not too worried. It'd be nice to win but we've still got two more days and then we've got the Tour de France in two weeks."