Marcel Kittel proved again that he's the fastest sprinter in the UCI WorldTour with his fourth career victory at the midweek sprinters classic, the Scheldeprijs.
Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep) finished ahead of Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) with Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) at the end of the 207.8km race from Antwerp to Schoten.
Kittel was again the beneficiary of a well drilled leadout in the finale and all that was left for him to do was finish the job, winning the 104th edition by the width of a tyre.
"The new finale was good and this meant there were no more crashes, but it’s also true that the race was more difficult than in the past, because of the wind which stretched out the peloton," Kittel said.
"We knew it would be tricky, so our goal was to come at the front with two kilometers to go and we did that. My teammates were excellent, and thanks to them, nobody could pass us.
"I started my sprint with around 200 meters to go and it wasn’t easy, but I gave my all and when Cavendish came around, I managed to keep my advantage."
It was Kittel's seventh victory since joining Etixx-QuickStep, which makes him the most prolific WorldTour rider of 2016. He is now the only rider to win the oldest Flemish race on four occasions.
"It’s my biggest win of the season and looking at the start list, which included almost all the top names of the game, it gives me even more confidence for my next races.”
“I don’t do this for numbers or for records. I just race because I love this and I love winning races," Kittel said. "Of course, I’m glad to take the victory, just as having a team that supports me 100 per cent and helps me get the most out of my talent makes me very happy.”