Mark Cavendish wins London 2012 road race test event
By Ollie WilliamsBBC Sport on The Mall
Britain's Mark Cavendish won the London 2012 road race test event to lay down a marker for Olympic gold next year.
Manxman Cavendish, who won this year's Tour de France points green jersey, completed the 87-mile course around London and Surrey in three hours, 18 minutes and 11 seconds.
"The crowd were incredible the whole way," Cavendish, 26, told BBC Sport.
"You can't get a sense of how the 2012 race will go, but you can get a feel for this course and the route is good."
Cyclists race past London sights
The one-off race, dubbed the London-Surrey Cycle Classic, began on The Mall and took in two ascents of the signature Box Hill climb in Surrey, as well as venturing through Hampton Court Palace, Walton-on-Thames, Guildford and Dorking.
Cavendish emerged from a tightly knit pack to take the win - back on The Mall once more - ahead of Italy's Sacha Modolo and France's Samuel Dumoulin.
"It's going to be a bit nervy [in 2012]," said Cavendish.
"There are a lot of roundabouts which make me nervous with a big bunch of guys, but it's a nice course."
Three other British riders - Liam Holohan, Tom Murray and Kristian House, all competing for trade teams - made the initial running in an early four-man breakaway alongside Brazil's Cleberson Weber.
The quartet opened up a six-minute gap but the peloton began to haul them back on the second Box Hill climb.
They were swept into the sort of bunch sprint finish from which Cavendish, the world's best sprinter, so frequently manufactures Tour de France stage wins - and he once again proved the victor.
MARK CAVENDISH FACTS
Became the first British winner of the green jersey for best sprinter at the 2011 Tour de France
Has 20 individual Tour de France stage wins - the sixth most in history
Won gold in the madison at the 2005 and 2008 World Championships
Won the Isle of Man's first Commonwealth gold for 20 years in the scratch race in 2006
This year's route is shorter than the one the men will tackle at the London Olympics.
In 2012, seven more large loops will extend the men's race to a distance of 155 miles (250km), while the women's race distance will remain 87 miles (140km).
"When it settled down, we started to make the tempo [in the peloton]," said Cavendish, referring to himself and his four GB team-mates.
"But I said before the race, we're not going to get a realistic sense of how the Olympic road race will go.
"Two laps is a lot different to nine laps, which is always going to be hard, but [next year] I'll prepare specifically for that before the Tour de France."
An announcement on Cavendish's new trade team, widely believed to be Team Sky - run by British Cycling chief Dave Brailsford - is due imminently.
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