STER ZLM TOER - 17 June 2012
Stage 4 (Final) – Schijndel to Boxtel, 163.5km
1 - Marcel Kittel - GER – Argos-Shimano – 3h 35m 54s
2 - Mark Renshaw - AUS - Rabobank - +0
3 - Jürgen Roelandts - BEL – Lotto-Belisol - +0
FINAL OVERALL STANDINGS
1 - Mark Cavendish - GBR - Team Sky – 16h 11m 55s
2 - Lars Boom - NED - Rabobank - +8
3 - Jürgen Roelandts - BEL – Lotto-Belisol - +14
Team Sky's Mark Cavendish claimed the first general classification victory of his career when winning the Ster ZLM Toer on Sunday by eight seconds from Lars Boom (Rabobank).
Top three places on the opening two stages in Holland had put him joint top of the standings but the race-defining performance came in Saturday's queen stage as the world champion stayed in the mix throughout on the hilly route in the Ardennes.
While some of his fellow sprinters lost upwards of 13 minutes, Cavendish was in contention right to the finish as he chased home stage winner Boom on the climb to the line.
And he then closed out the overall win on the pan-flat final stage from Schijndel to Boxtel, with Team Sky and Rabobank dictating matters on the 163.5 kilometres route to make sure it ended with a bunch sprint.
Mark Cavendish, Team Sky rider:
“I’ve been second a couple of times in the past but this is my first GC win and I'm really, really happy with it.
“The team rode so well yesterday, setting such a high tempo on the front that guys were going out the back all day. We were down to just 25 at the finish - it was incredible and I’m really proud of what we did.
“In today's final stage there was a dangerous guy up the road in the break at just one minute back on the GC but we managed to bring it all back together.
[Looking ahead to the Tour de France and Olympics Road Race] “I’m training really well. I wanted to be in my best form and definitely am so I’m looking forward to France now and hopefully Team Sky getting the green and yellow jerseys.
“It's pretty much about relaxing now and really looking after myself these next two weeks. You’ve got to start the Tour de France as fresh as possible - especially so this year with the Olympics so soon after."
Steven de Jongh, Team Sky Sports Director:
“It’s a first stage-race win for Mark and he’s pretty happy with it; I think there should be more in the future too.
“The guys had another good day – they controlled it throughout for the jersey. Rabobank helped out too as did Argos-Shimano later on.
"The whole team has done really well this weekend and there have been plenty of other plus points. For example, Alex Dowsett is getting better every day as he works his way back to top form after his injury so it’s been a productive week."
Race website: http://www.sterzlmtoer.nl/