Cycling: Cavendish claims classic win on line

Mark Cavendish believes victory in the Milan-San Remo classic yesterday proved he is "a great rider".

The 23-year-old, who won four Tour de France stages last July, made a surge in the final metres of the 298-kilometre (186-mile), one-day classic to hunt down Heinrich Haussler and secure victory by centimetres. Cavendish had to wait several minutes for the result to be confirmed, but was already celebrating with his Team Columbia-Highroad team-mates.

"When you win sprints you prove you're a great sprinter but when you win a great one-day race like Milan-San Remo you've proved you're a great rider," Cavendish said. "I wanted to prove I'm a great rider and that's what I did."

The Manxman's rivals had questioned whether the Briton would make it over the Cipressa and Poggio climbs but George Hincapie and Thomas Lovkvist saw their team-mate into the final straight. Cavendish then overturned a 10-metre gap down the final 200m to pip Haussler (Cervelo TestTeam) on the line and become the second British winner behind 1964 winner Tom Simpson and the third youngest in the prestigious race's history.

"It is my first Monument [a one-day classic] I have ever ridden," he added. "I took a lot of pleasure by winning it when a lot of people had written me off."

Lance Armstrong (Astana), who was making his return to European racing, was among those trailing in Cavendish's wake, finishing 125th. Brits Roger Hammond (Cervelo TestTeam), Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) and Jeremy Hunt (Cervelo TestTeam) were 92nd, 108th, and 133rd, respectively, while Ian Stannard (ISD) did not finish.

Cavendish paid tribute to the Team Columbia-Highroad sprint consultant Erik Zabel, a four-times Milan-San Remo winner and winner of the Tour de France's green points jersey on six occasions. "Without his help I wouldn't have won," Cavendish said. "We did the reconnaissance twice and I knew exactly where I had to be at what time and knew exactly how hard I could go and when."

Cavendish now travels to Poland for Wednesday's track cycling world championships, despite suggesting his track days were behind him after failing to gain a medal at the Beijing Olympics.

Life and Style
Divers at Bouldnor Cliff underwater site in the Solent off the Isle of Wight, where the silt sample containing the einkorn DNA was found
Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Ventilation Cleaning Operative

£15600 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower