Though they have competed in the same race on two occassions this season, the eagerly anticipated sprinting battle between the pair has failed to materialise.
At the Dubai Tour, Kittel was in the better shape – his team-mates setting him up for a superb stage two win while Omega Pharma-Quickstep struggled, while Cavendish was not in contention on the following two stages either.
At Tirreno-Adriatico, meanwhile, a crash denied Kittel on the first road stage – his angry bike toss captured on camera – when Cavendish finished 17th.
On the penultimate stage of the race, it was Cannondale who accounted for Kittel’s chances – their furious pace in the bunch causing the German and his team-mate to lose contact at the back.
By comparison, Omega Pharma-Quickstep and a resurgent Cavendish stayed comfortably in the bunch before bursting into the life in stunning fashion in the final kilometre.