Cavendish on Milan-Sanremo: ‘We didn’t come away with the win, but I’m happy how we stuck to the plan’
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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Cavendish on Milan-Sanremo: ‘We didn’t come away with the win, but I’m happy how we stuck to the plan’

by Shane Stokes at 8:13 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Milan-Sanremo
Omega Pharma Quick Step rider praises former team-mate Ciolek

Mark CavendishAlthough he was in strong shape and was in the second chasing group, just fourteen seconds back from the chance to sprint for his second-ever victory in the race, Mark Cavendish was able to view things philosophically at the end of Milan Sanremo.

Rather than focus on what he missed out, he accepted that it was important that Sylvain Chavanel was able to play his card and to try to win the race for the team.

“We went with the plan,” he explained after the race. “We didn’t come away with the win, but I’m happy with how we stuck to the plan of Chavanel going off the front.”

After attacking between the climbs of the Cipressa and the Poggio, Chavanel was clear with Ian Stannard (Sky) heading onto the slopes of the latter climb. They rode well together and held a lead of several seconds going over the top, but were joined by Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard), Luca Paolini (Katusha) and Gerald Ciolek (MTN Qhubeka) on the descent.

That group fought it out for the victory, with Ciolek surprising an over-confident Sagan and snatching the biggest victory of his career.

As for Cavendish, he sprinted in ninth. He had insisted before the race that he wasn’t targeting a big result, which few believed, and was clearly going better than he had led people to think.

“It was cold, but I was okay,” he said after the race. He had earlier stated that he was freezing when the race was stopped, and admitted it was tough to get going after the restart. “It wasn’t easy to get back on the bike again, but it was the same for everyone who started. What kept me going was the possibility of winning Milano – Sanremo. We started and we gave everything. I had support from everyone, including Chava [Chavanel].”

Cavendish and Ciolek were team-mates for two years on the T-Mobile/HTC Highroad setup, going their separate ways when the latter moved to the Milram team prior to the start of the 2009 season. The Briton won his Milan Sanremo that same year, and said today that he was glad to see the German now join him on the role of honour.

“Ciolek winning wasn’t surprising. He’s the Under 23 World Champion, one of the most talented bike riders I know,” he said graciously. “He’s definitely come back this year. He’s won a few races and he’s right back up there. He’s a super guy and I’m really happy for him.”


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