Mark Cavendish finishes eighth in Three Days of West Flanders prologue
Mark Cavendish finished eighth in the prologue at the Three Days of West Flanders in Belgium.
Last Updated: 01/03/13 4:32pm
The Manxman was part of a strong all-round performance from the Omega Pharma - Quick-Step team, who claimed five of the top 10 spots on the opening day of the race.
The win went to Cavendish's team-mate Kristof Vandewalle, who stopped the clock on the 7km course around Middelkerke in eight minutes nine seconds. Cavendish was 12 seconds slower.
Belgian national time trial champion Vandewalle now takes over the leader's jersey ahead of two road stages on Saturday and Sunday.
Cavendish is using the race as his final warm-up ahead of Tirreno-Adriatico, which starts on Wednesday.
With over half the riders already having completed the course, the rain arrived to briefly throw a spanner in the works.
But that did not stop Omega Pharma - Quick-Step demonstrating their time-trial strength as, one by one, their riders began to pack out the top positions.
Frantisek Rabon set a benchmark of 8min 24secs, before team-mates Cavendish, Niki Terpstra, Geert Steegmans and, finally, Vandewalle shaved further seconds of that time.
Steegmans finished third, with Portugal's Tiago Machado (RadioShack-Leopard) runner-up, seven seconds adrift of Vandewalle.