HTC-Highroad fully behind Cavendish and Goss for Milan San Remo
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

HTC-Highroad fully behind Cavendish and Goss for Milan San Remo

by Conal Andrews at 5:15 PM EST   comments
Categories: Video
American ProTeam expecting strong showing in prestigious Classic on Saturday

Mark CavendishThe 2009 winner Mark Cavendish and in-form team-mate Matt Goss have been named as the two protected riders for Saturday’s Milan-Sanremo Classic in Italy, with HTC Highroad expressing confidence in both.

Cavendish will be the official team leader, despite having a quiet season start thus far. He has raised his arms just once, winning a stage at the Tour of Oman, and clocked up just one top twenty placing in Tirreno-Adriatico. He was 19th on stage two, 90th on stage three, and outside the top 100 on each of the other stages.

However he has said that he is confident that he is on course for a good Milan-Sanremo. Justifying that, he points to 2009, whe he was relatively quiet in the same event prior to winning in Sanremo. However he did nab placings of second and first on stages three and seven then.

“Mark has already won this race and he'll be our leader,” said HTC-Highroad directeur sportif Valerio Piva, who is putting his trust on the rider being as ready as he says he is. “He's motivated, physically he's in pretty much the same condition as when he won it in 2009 and we're sure he'll give it 100 percent.”

Goss has certainly shown that he has the form to fight for victories, although it remains to be seen how the Australian will handle the distance. His season has been very impressive thus far, with victories including two stages and the GC in the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic, the Down Under Classic, a stage in the Tour Down Under, a stage in the Tour of Oman and a stage in Paris-Nice.

“We also have Matt Goss who has already won eight races this year and we have a good support team around them both,” said Piva, who confirmed that the Australian was the Plan B for the team. “Of course if it comes down to a bunch sprint in San Remo and Mark is there, then we'll be working all out for him."

The team has ridden the Milan-Sanremo course twice as a refresher about what the route demands are like. Piva doesn’t feel that the parcours is in itself that difficult, but that it’s more about how it is raced.

"The terrain is easy,” he said, “but you can be the most in-form rider in the bunch and it's still a very stressful race. Crashes and other problems can happen at any point. It's very fast and everybody wants to be on the front all the time."

“So luck plays a big part, and without a strong team to support you at the crucial moments, it's impossible to win.”

The HTC Highroad management have put together a strong squad to back the sprinting duo. Tour of Britain winner Michael Albasini, former world time trial champion Bert Grabsch, Lars Bak and talented leadout riders Bernhard Eisel and Mark Renshaw will back the duo, while Vuelta a España podium finisher Peter Velits could prove to be a nice wildcard for the team.

Piva said that the most important thing was that both Goss and Cavendish had finished Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico in good shape. They will taper this week, making the final tweaks to their form, then turn up in Milano fully focused on the task.

“When we get to the start-line of Milan-San Remo, we're in a completely different race,” said Piva. “Mark is confident and he knows what he wants.”


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