Scheldeprijs: Jasper Philipsen nips a resurgent Cavendish in third

Mark Cavendish hits his most significant result so far in 2023 with a podium in the race he's won three times.

Photo: Belga/AFP via Getty Images

Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin Deceuninck) took the inside line to win Scheldeprijs ahead of a resurgent Mark Cavendish.

Cavendish hit his most significant result so far in 2023, and held off the field to finish on the podium in the race he’s won three times in his career.

Cavendish opened up his sprint, but Philipsen found space along the barriers to power to the line victorious. Sam Welsford (Team DSM) hitched a ride to finish second.

“I went to follow Edward Theuns, but I had to fight with Dylan Groenewegen a bit, so I was in the wind already at 450m to go,” Cavendish said. “I had to go very long from where I normally wanted to go, at 250 meters to go if you are well sheltered. And then Jasper came, with such a speed.

“I always love to come back to the Scheldeprijs,” said Cavendish, who races next at the Giro di Siclia. “The sprint here is always a bit chaotic. You really need to look you don’t crash but I have great memories here. Can you imagine, my teammate Gleb (Syritsa) was six when I won my first Scheldeprijs (in 2007).”

Astana Qazaqstan was more than pleased to see Cavendish back in the fray after a few weeks of illness.

“Especially after our let’s say so far difficult classics season, this result makes me happy,” said sport director Stefano Zanini. “I am especially happy for Mark as this will give him a boost after his sickness of the last weeks. The teamwork was excellent as well. Everybody did his part of the job.”

A four-rider breakaway hit the bell lap with a 20-second gap, but no one could fend off the fast men in the bunch. Yet there they stayed, nursing a 10-second gap with 8km to go, forcing Alpecin-Deceuninck led by Mathieu van der Poel to shut it down.

“It was not a typical hard race here in Scheldeprijs with the wind, but it made for an exciting sprint at the end,” Philipsen said. “Everyone knows how to bring me in the best spot. I am really happy to win this race more than one time, hopefully I can add more in the future.”

“Holy Week” culminates this weekend, with Paris-Roubaix Femmes on Saturday and Paris-Roubaix on Sunday.

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