Mark Cavendish: “We finished with five but everyone had a part to play.”
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Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Mark Cavendish: “We finished with five but everyone had a part to play.”

by Ben Atkins at 1:17 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tirreno-Adriatico
 
Manx sprinter pays tribute to Omega Pharma-Quick Step teammates after Tirreno TTT victory

mark cavendishMark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) became the first leader of the 2013 Tirreno-Adriatico in Donoratico, close to the coast of Tuscany today, and paid tribute to his teammates after an eight-man effort saw the Belgian outfit win the team time trial. The Manx sprinter was the first to cross the line, at the head of the five remaining riders, but was quick to credit those in his team that had made this possible.

Omega Pharma-Quick Step is the reigning World team time trial champion, having picked up the title in Limburg, Netherlands, in September; Cavendish was not part of the team that day, but particularly recognised one of the key riders from that day.

"One name is a huge reason why we did so well today: Tony Martin,” said Cavendish said of the World time trial champion, who wasn’t wearing his rainbow skinsuit since the team time trial is now recognised as a World championship discipline. "He did the majority of the work, but the guys today, all of them, were just incredible. As for the planning, we did a lot of it but we didn't too much pressure on it. It was actually quite relaxing.”

mark cavendishWith Cavendish and Martin at the finish were Niki Terpstra, Zdenek Stybar, and Michal Kwiatkowski, but the former World road champion was keen to emphasise that the other three riders - Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, Gert Steegmans and Martin Velits - had all made their contribution before being left behind on the 16.9km course.

“Everyone knew what they had to do,” Cavendish explained. “We finished with five but everyone had a part to play.

“Maybe that's what makes us so good, because no one has a real ego except maybe me,” he laughed. “For everybody, it's about getting eight guys from point A to point B as fast as possible. I'm super proud to be a part of it. For me, when there's a team time trial win, it's one of the nicest things in cycling. The whole team gets to celebrate. That's what makes this event special.

"The five we crossed the finish line its quite a misconception to think that the five that crossed the finish line are the five strongest," Cavendish continued. "It doesn't work like that. For example at the top of the climb it was difficult. Tony went away. It could have been easy for Gert Steegmans to go with Tony, but instead he waited and brought the rest of the team back to Tony. That finished Gert, you know. So maybe he did one of the best rides of the team today, but he's not there in the top five. So I think it's got nothing to do with being in the top five when it comes to your condition. It really depends on where you are, or the circumstances.”

After a year at Team Sky, which failed to live up to expectations, Cavendish has managed to find his love for cycling again at Omega Pharma-Quick Step, he says. The Manxman has already taken five sprint victories this season, as well as the overall Tour of Qatar title, compared to just three from this time last year.

"I'm really enjoying riding my bike again," he said. "I don't know if it's the past or this team is just so nice, but I am just really, really happy. I found a new motivation again. This is my 7th or 8th year as a professional, but whatever happened this year I have newfound love again.

“It's just really refreshing to be part of a team where I've got so many friends where I grew up in the past with them and now I'm having so much fun,” he explained. “This is the most I've raced this kind of year and I've got a daughter and fiancee at home. It's really hard to be this far away for this long, but when you've got a good group of people like I am with, I couldn't ask for anything more."

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