The Manxman finished runner-up on the flat stage 1 of the Danmark Rundt.
For the first time in seven years, the opening stage of the race concluded with a bunch sprint – albeit a reduced one as consequence of the technical finale and the numerous crashes that took their toll on the peloton inside the last ten kilometers – and Mark Cavendish was there for Deceuninck – Quick-Step.
Winner of nine races and of the prestigious Tour de France green jersey this season, the 36-year-old couldn’t rely on Michael Mørkøv – who lost contact due to an untimely mechanical just before entering the local circuit – but had Belgian ITT Champion Yves Lampaert and Jannik Steimle by his side as he navigated the nervous closing kilometers of the race.
Using his experience, Cavendish placed himself in the wheel of Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) with two kilometers to go before opening his sprint 150 meters from the line, on a short but tricky cobblestone segment, and taking runner-up for his 16th podium of the year.
“I am happy to be back in Denmark, the place where I became World Champion ten years ago, and I’m content with today despite not winning, as it was a nice day of racing. Unfortunately, we lost Michael at an important moment and he never came back, but Jannik and Yves did a great job for me, controlling the bunch. Going under the flamme rouge, I was in a good position but I lost a bit on that cobbled stretch and once that happened there was no way I was going to come back. We wanted the victory today, and despite not getting it, this result gives us confidence for the week”, Mark explained after his top 3 in Esbjerg.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele / Getty Images