Giro d’Italia: Cavendish gunning for another stint in the Maglia Rosa, is convinced stage one will be a sprint
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Friday, May 03, 2013

Giro d’Italia: Cavendish gunning for another stint in the Maglia Rosa, is convinced stage one will be a sprint

by VeloNation Press at 9:52 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
Manxman puts faith in Omega Pharma Quick Step team despite some misfires this year

Mark CavendishInsisting that he doesn’t feel much pressure heading into the race, Mark Cavendish has revealed that grabbing the Maglia Rosa for the third time is a big incentive as he awaits the start of the Giro d’Italia tomorrow.

The British rider temporarily ended up at the head of the general classification in 2009 and 2011, with those performances coming on the back of a strong team time trial. He’ll try a different route tomorrow, and knows that the emotions could be stronger if he hits the line first ahead of his sprinting rivals.

“For sure it would be a dream to take the Pink jersey in the first stage,” he stated. “I've won the Pink Jersey twice before in my career. I'd love to do it again here in Napoli. It's a special race here, the Giro d'Italia, so I'd like to get it started in a good way.

“I know my teammates are as excited as I am about this opportunity, and we are all committed to fight for stage wins whenever possible.”

Cavendish has had a successful season thus far, clocking up seven victories including four stages plus the overall classification in the Tour of Qatar. However he has also had frustrating moments when his Omega Pharma Quick Step team didn’t fire on all cylinders and he was left with missed opportunities. His second pace in Scheldeprijs is one of those.

He and the team had hoped to secure the services of Alessandro Petacchi for the Giro and the rest of the season. The Italian has ended his contract with the Lampre-Merida team but the UCI has blocked a move to Omega Pharma Quick Step.

That may ultimately be approved, but it will be too late for the Giro.

Despite that, and despite the earlier misses, Cavendish said that he has faith in the team.

“I'm not really feeling a lot of pressure as I've got a strong team with me. The stronger team you have, the less pressure,” he said.

“As for the first stage, which is flat, it's a nice circuit here in Napoli. The more laps there are, the more of a chance I have to look at it during the race. So I'm not putting too much stress on that, but obviously there is at least some pressure.”

Thus far in his career he has taken ten stages, although he is yet to secure the points classification. He has achieved that feat in the Tour de France and Vuelta a España and could complete the treble in this race. However he plays down his chances somewhat.

“My goal is to win at least a stage. Hopefully a jersey comes from that. The riders who go in to hunt for jerseys are more the attacking riders like Sagan. For me, I have to rely on winning stages to get jerseys.”

He’s also not convinced that there are many chances for his type of rider. “There are not too many opportunities after the first stage on Saturday, maybe two or three for the sprinters. So we'll see how it goes. I will say that without a doubt, we can do a good job here at the Giro. I have confidence in my teammates and we will do our best.”

What’s clear is that he will enjoy himself in the event, even if he also wants to perform at a top level. “I love racing in Italy. It's just incredible to ride the Giro. It's one of maybe two races I insist on doing each year. I also have a place in Italy so it's kind of like my home tour.”

In that light, securing the Maglia Rosa would be a special feat. He describes the stage as a straightforward one and is clear that it will finish in a mass gallop to the line.

“Of course there are a lot of corners and cobblestones that can make it a little more challenging, but I think it should be okay,” he said. “I think the next days after Saturday will be the days that shake up the GC a little bit and will give the attacking guys some opportunities.”

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