Can Guardini beat Cavendish’s record for debut season sprint wins?
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Monday, June 20, 2011

Can Guardini beat Cavendish’s record for debut season sprint wins?

by Shane Stokes at 11:04 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Italian Farnese Vini sprinter now just two off Briton’s 2007 tally of eleven victories

andrea guardiniNotching up another sprint win on the final stage of the Tour of Slovenia, the 22 year old Italian Andrea Guardini has moved closer to surpassing a record set four years ago by Mark Cavendish.

Guardini has now taken a total of nine wins in 2011, just two off the total clocked up by Cavendish during his first pro season with the T-Mobile team. Cavendish, like Guardini this year, started that season at 21 years of age.

Guardini’s latest success came on yesterday’s final stage of the Tour of Slovenia. He galloped home ahead of Jacopo Guarnieri (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD), hitting the line first in Novo Mestrol.

As he explained afterwards, getting the positioning exactly right was an important part of the success. “The team helped me a lot, I can only thank all of them. After the GPM [King of the Mountains prime – ed.], my companions worked for fifteen kilometres to bring me back to the group. Then in the finale Diego [Caccia] was fantastic, marking the wheel of the Liquigas team, which was the only one to have the strength to organise it.

“They led the peloton for the last kilometre and a half, and I was lucky enough to immediately take the wheel of Guarneri. I knew that victory would depend on the last corner, which came 300 meters from the finish and had a sharp bend. I went into it second on the wheel of Guarnieri, at which point it was easy to do my sprint, in the right position. I'm really happy about this victory, which I dedicate to the team for what it did and the general belief it has in me.”

Guardini got the first of his nine wins on stage one of the Tour de Langkawi in Kuah, back on January 23rd. He defended the yellow jersey in style the following day, winning into Butterworth, and also took stages six, seven and ten.

His next victory was on February 11th when he picked up the fifth stage of the Tour of Qatar. In April he won stages one and seven in the Presidential Tour of Turkey, bringing his tally to eight, and then yesterday’s success added one more to the list.

Guardini has now beaten most of the top sprinters in the sport, with Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervélo), André Greipel (Omega Pharma – Lotto) and Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) all seeing first hand how fast he can be.

Importantly, he’s also got a good mentality, appearing down to earth. Indeed he showed his modesty when he said that he had a lot of satisfaction yesterday when Petacchi spoke to him. “After the finish, Petacchi came to congratulate me for the win. Well, that was something, it gave me a lot of pleasure. It shows that I am doing something right, that even great sprinters recognise me.”

Guardini and his team won’t ride the Tour de France, but they have a busy programme ahead. He plans to continue winning wherever possible. “For sure I am not going to stop. Having already won in Istanbul in Turkey, my next goal is to win in Vienna in the Tour of Austria. It is the last day in a race of eight stages. If I get to the sprint, it will mean that I have already achieved a victory in getting to the end of the race! And then, I hope we have the luck and I have the legs to win there.”

That race takes place between July 3rd and 10th. If Guardini does top the podium there, he’ll have just one more victory to clock up before equalling Cavendish’s mark. The Briton took his eleventh win of the 2007 season in September of that year.

Whatever happens, though, it is clear that he is set to be one of the sport’s top sprinters in the years ahead. Cavendish will doubtlessly be taking note of his progress, while also watching to see if his record will survive.


Andrea Guardini’s 2011 victories (nine thus far):

23/01/2011: Tour de Langkawi, Stage 1 : Dataran Lang - Kuah, 2.HC
24/01/2011: Tour de Langkawi, Stage 2 : Kangar - Butterworth, 2.HC
28/01/2011: Tour de Langkawi, Stage 6 : Rawang - Putrajaya, 2.HC
29/01/2011: Tour de Langkawi, Stage 7 : Banting - Tampin, 2.HC
01/02/2011: Tour de Langkawi, Stage 10 : Shah Alam - Kuala Lumpur, 2.HC
11/02/2011: Tour of Qatar, Stage 5 : Sealine Beach Resort - Doha, 2.1
24/04/2011: Presidential Tour of Turkey, Stage 1 : Istanbul - Istanbul, 2.HC
30/04/2011: Presidential Tour of Turkey, Stage 7 : Tekirova - Manavgat, 2.HC
19/06/2011: Tour de Slovénie / Dirka po Sloveniji, Stage 3 : Ptuj - Novo Mesto, 2.1

Mark Cavendish’s 2007 wins (eleven) :

18/04/2007 : Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen , 1.HC
10/05/2007 : 4 Jours de Dunkerque, Stage 3: Saint-Amand les Eaux - Caudry , 2.HC
13/05/2007 : 4 Jours de Dunkerque, Stage 6: Steenvoorde - Dunkerque , 2.HC
22/05/2007: Volta a Catalunya, Stage 2: Salou - Perafort , 2.PT
26/05/2007: Volta a Catalunya, Stage 6: Llivia - Lloret de Mar , 2.PT
23/06/2007: Ster Elektrotoer, Stage 4: Sittard-Geleen - Eindhoven , 2.1
05/08/2007: Post Danmark Rundt / Tour of Denmark, Stage 6: Praesto - Frederiksberg , 2.HC
24/08/2007: Eneco Tour of Benelux, Stage 2: Antwerpen - Knokke-Heist , 2.PT
29/08/2007: Eneco Tour of Benelux, Points classification , 2.PT
09/09/2007: Tour of Britain, Prologue: London I.T.T. , 2.1
10/09/2007: Tour of Britain, Stage 1: Reading - Southampton , 2.1



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