Mark Canvendish (Columbia) proved the obvious today in the finish of the the first stage of the Tour of Missouri – the obvious being that he is the fastest in the peloton. Cavendish was sitting second wheel behind Dominque Rollin (Toyota-United) in the final 300 meters when Rollin swung off. Everyone hesitated including Cavendish, who looked over both shoulders before jumping on Tyler Farrar’s (Garmin-Chipotle) wheel. This allowed him to rest enough to come around Farrar before the line, well ahead of Italian Francesco Chicchi (Liquigas) in third.
“George [Hincapie] dropped me off on Rollin’s wheel,” said Cavendish. “[Rollin] swung off with 200-meters to go but there was a bit of a head wind. Tyler jumped [then] and I jumped on his wheel which gave me a couple seconds rest. It was just a case of kicking past him and crossing the line first.”
“To be honest it was more hectic at the finish here than it is in Europe,” Cavendish continued. “There are a lot of guys who haven’t raced me before and maybe they thought they could beat me. I give them a lot of credit for trying to do that. But when you have a team like I have it’s pretty hard to beat me.”
Farrar said that the unorganized fashion of the last few kilometers made an already dangerous setting even more chaotic. “It was hectic in the last lap with the big down hill on the circuits that made it easy to swarm,” he said. “I was kind of just looking for Mark’s wheel – my guys worked hard to get me there. I sat on his wheel until about 200 meters to go and tried to jump there but it didn’t quite work.”
Coming into the final 500 meters it was Dominique Rollin (Toyota-United) on the front driving it, but with Cavendish on his wheel. “I don’t know what happened,” said Rollin. “I was leading out Ivan [Dominguez] and then he wasn’t on my wheel anymore. We had a smooth run-in coming around the Columbia lead out, but I think we got messed up because of the crash.”
“I ended up doing a great lead-out for Cavendish!” Rollin laughed. “I couldn’t go any more because I was going out from 600 meters and there was a headwind.”
For the complete race report with results and photos, visit Cyclingnews.com.