Cavendish boosted by very strong HTC-Highroad team in Tour Down Under
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cavendish boosted by very strong HTC-Highroad team in Tour Down Under

by Shane Stokes at 4:53 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour Down Under
 
Manx rider can count on right-hand men Mark Renshaw and Bernhard Eisel next month

Bernhard Eisel Mark CavendishThe prospect of the Santos Tour Down Under being the first major clash of cycling’s top sprinters has been reinforced by the news that Mark Cavendish’s right-hand men Mark Renshaw and Bernhard Eisel plus several other strong lead-out riders will back the Manxman in next month’s race.

Cavendish, who was already confirmed some time ago, will go head to head with former team-mate André Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto), who won multiple stages plus the overall classification in 2008 and 2010. He will also square up against sprint rivals Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervélo), Gerald Ciolek and Francesco Chicchi (Quick Step), 2009 race winner Allan Davis (Astana), world under 23 champion Michael Matthews (Rabobank) and others, setting things up for a tantalising sprinters’ showdown.

Renshaw is from Australia and apart from being very motivated to race well on home soil, he will also have the benefit of having ridden the race before. He knows what it involves and where the crucial points will be. “Renshaw has a long history with the Santos Tour Down Under, winning the Cancer Council Classic in 2007 and Stage 1 in 2008,” said the Santos Tour Down Under Race Director Mike Turtur. “He is the best lead-out rider in international cycling, and it will be great to see if he can set Cavendish up for some stage wins here in Adelaide.”

Despite the fact that they were on the same team for many years, there has long been tension between Greipel and Cavendish. Cavendish has a superb Tour de France history, winning 15 stages in the past three years, while his German team-mate was passed over for selection each time. He picked up many wins elsewhere, taking the most pro victories in the peloton in 2009 and 2010. Both see themselves as the quickest riders in cycling and will each be determined to prove a point next season.

“It will be the first time Cavendish will go head-to-head with his sprint rival and former teammate Andre Greipel so the pressure will be on Renshaw to set Cav up in the sprint finishes,” said Turtur. “Another Aussie rider to look out for is Matthew Goss, who has come off the back of a great 2010 season with stage wins at the Giro d’Italia and Tour of Denmark.”

He will also be backed by Bernhard Eisel (Austria), former world time trial champion Bert Grabsch (Germany), Hayden Roulston (New Zealand) and the American rider Danny Pate, who will make his debut with the team after many seasons with the Garmin squad. The HTC-Highroad riders are known for having arguably the strongest lead-out train in the peloton and this lineup points towards a successful campaign.

The Santos Tour Down Under will run from January 16th to 23rd, and is the first race on the UCI World Tour calendar.

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HTC-Highroad team for 2011 Santos Tour Down Under:

Mark Cavendish (GBR)
Bernhard Eisel (Austria)
Mark Renshaw (AUS)
Bert Grabsch (GER)
Matthew Goss (AUS)
Danny Pate (USA)
Hayden Roulston (NZL)

Directeur sportif: Allan Peiper (AUS)

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