Cavendish: “We have a strong team here to win and we are going to try to do that”
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Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Cavendish: “We have a strong team here to win and we are going to try to do that”

by VeloNation Press at 5:21 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tirreno-Adriatico
 
After dominating Tour of Qatar, Briton wants more success in Tirreno-Adriatico

Mark CavendishLining out in Tirreno-Adriatico tomorrow, just under a month after he won four consecutive stages plus the general classification in the Tour of Qatar, Mark Cavendish has made clear that he is equally determined to top the podium in the Italian WorldTour event.

The Omega Pharma Quick Step rider is part of a glittering cast for the race and today admitted he is full of ambition and hungry for more success.

“My job as a sprinter is to win bike races,” he stated, laying out his intentions. “Doesn't matter if it's at a Grand Tour, a very small race, or a big week long race like Tirreno-Adriatico. I'm here for Omega Pharma – Quick-Step to win. I want to win. We have a strong team here to win and we are going to try to do that.”

Cavendish will have several opportunities in the days ahead but also recognises that with a very strong lineup, others on the Omega Pharma Quick Step squad will also be in a position to win the flowers and spray the champagne. “We've got a very diverse team. Our diversity gives us a lot of options which is really, really good and takes the pressure off me quite a bit.”

The squad won the world team time trial championship last September and has a chance to try to win again in a similar test tomorrow. Tirreno-Adriatico begins with a 16.9 kilometre TTT and in addition to the honour of a stage victory, success tomorrow would put one of the riders into the first leader’s jersey of the race and also boost the GC riders’ chances in the overall.

“We'll see how it goes…it's a difficult time trial,” Cavendish said, making clear that the result was far from a formality. “It really takes a strategy to do this kind of a time trial, especially if it's windy like it was today. We have two great time trialists, Tony Martin and Michal Kwiatkowski, but also Niki Terpstra is very strong in this discipline.

“This team, OPQS, won the World TTT Championship last year. So we will try to do our best with a strong team, even tomorrow."

The Belgian squad has a strong overall contender in Tony Martin, who recently won the Volta ao Algarve for the second time in his career.

Martin didn’t attend today’s big press conference but made clear that the race is a big target for him. “I'm happy about my form. After my overall win at Volta ao Algarve I trained one week in Mallorca, and than I was at home for another week,” he said. “Everything went OK and I had a good approach to the race. As for Tirreno-Adriatico, it has a great parcours. I'm here to try to do something good even on the most difficult stages.”

As a sprinter rather than a climber, Cavendish will be the team’s focus on the flatter stages. He is one of the fastest gallopers in cycling – if not the fastest – but also acknowledges that there is another rider there who could pose problems for him.

“As usual I'm focused on my own performance rather than thinking about the others,” he said, right before doing just that. “However, I think a guy like Peter Sagan will be active when it comes to a race like this. I think stages that might come to a sprint, a guy like Peter might disrupt that and go for the GC. We'll have to see what happens. It will be a fierce first couple of days.”

Cavendish and Martin will be backed by Gert Steegmans, Guillaume Van Keirsulck, Martin Velits, Michal Kwiatkowski, Niki Terpstra and Zdenek Stybar in the seven day race.

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