The Sport Matrix: Monday 2 March 2015


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The Independent Online

Cavendish times finish to perfection

Mark Cavendish unleashed one of his trademark power finishes to win the Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne one-day race in Belgium yesterday.

The Etixx-QuickStep rider triumphed in a sprint finish ahead of Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff and Team Sky’s Elia Viviani.

Cavendish (right) timed his sprint to perfection, despite not having the best of lead-outs from his team-mates in the 500m-long finishing straight.

“Because of the headwind going into the last corner, we used our guys too quickly,” he said. “Tom Boonen went to go but I already left him to go on to Kristoff’s wheel. I thought that was better.”

It was a second British win of the weekend after Sky’s Ian Stannard won the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday, also  in Belgium.

The 29-year-old Cavendish, who is the only Briton to have won the race, said: “I’ve been going good all year and the team looked after me. They were incredible.”

Hull KR come back to stun Wigan

Hull KR coach Chris Chester praised his players’ spirit after they came from 20-6 down to gain their first win over Wigan for six years. Kieran Dixon’s first try for the club eight minutes from the end levelled the scores and Josh Mantellato kicked the conversion to claim a 22-20 win. “There is a lot of relief,” Chester said. “We’ve been questioned after the first couple of games but one thing you can’t question is our team spirit.”

Celtic strengthen title grip with rout

Ronny Deila says he will keep the Scottish Premiership title celebrations on hold despite his Celtic side beating Aberdeen 4-0 to go six points clear. “I don’t take anything for granted,” he said. “I know how quick it can turn around if you start to lose focus on the right things.”

Sherwood calls for ‘siege mentality’

Tim Sherwood has warned his Aston Villa players they will be dropped if they do not wake up to the enormity of the club’s position. Villa are second bottom of the table after falling to their seventh straight league defeat at Newcastle on Saturday. “I don’t want to see any heads dropping and if I do see heads drop on the training field then they won’t play,” Sherwood said. “We need a siege mentality.”

Sullivan celebrates Joburg Open win

England’s Andy Sullivan won his second European Tour title in Johannesburg in eight weeks, carding a closing 66 at the Joburg Open. The 28-year-old from Nuneaton finished 17 under par, two shots clear. Padraig Harrington took the halfway lead on seven under par at the Honda Classic, which will finish today after the weather caused more delays at the PGA National in Florida.