Cavendish's race program depends on Tirreno-Adriatico
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Monday, March 8, 2010

Cavendish's race program depends on Tirreno-Adriatico

by Neil Browne at 10:40 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

Mark CavendishMark Cavendish has had a slow start to his season. In January he had dental problems which delayed his preperation for the season. Cavendish's recent premiere at the Ruta del Sol was less than one would expect from the world's fastest sprinter, with only a fourth place finish in only stage he contested.

To further complicate the matters for the Manxman, he lost some key men in his leadout train during the off-season transfers, George Hincapie went to BMC Racing and Edvald Boasson Hagen to the new British Team Sky.

Another setback for the HTC-Columbia leader was his trusty leadout man Mark Renshaw being diagnosed with the Epstein-Barr virus. Renshaw is expected to return to racing this month, but it will take him some time to build up his form.

Cavendish is racing again at the upcoming Tirreno-Adriatico which will include a couple of opportunities for him to test his legs. He will hope to see his first victory of the season there.

"I'm only expecting a couple of bunch sprint finishes, the first and the last stages," comments Valerio Piva, HTC-Columbia's sports director.

However, don't look for the “Cav” to be burning too many matches at this seven-day Italian race - he will likely only use two.

Cavendish will use Tirreno-Adriatico, "As another important step toward Milan-Sanremo," according to Piva.  "That said, there's no way he'll be going in too deep. You don't want to burn yourself out in Tirreno-Adriatico and not have enough strength left to do well in Milan-Sanremo. But whenever there's a bunch sprint, that's always a good stage for Mark."

It's after Tirreno-Adriatico where Cavendish's race program becomes unclear. Team Director Rolf Aldag is taking a wait and see approach in deciding to include him in Dwars door Vlaanderen and Gent-Wevelgem.

"He would take one or two sprint as tests then we still speak again in ten days. He is still hoping for Milan-Sanremo, where he rides for all or nothing," said Aldag.

While the short term goal is another victory at Milan-Sanremo, the main focus of the season is July.

"I understand that as a rider Cavendish is always looking for other purposes, but the major objective of 2010 is the green jersey in the Tour," said Aldag.


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