Giro d'Italia - Cavendish makes TTT first target

Thu, 05 May 21:46:00 2011

Briton Mark Cavendish has set his sights on the opening team trial in the Giro d'Italia starting on Saturday rather than winning a bunch sprint.

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"It's the only race where everybody from the team gets to stand on the podium, the whole squad gets to celebrate," Cavendish said.

"We won it in the Tour of Spain last year and that was very important for me too. In some ways it's my favourite event."

Cavendish led his HTC-Highroad squad across the line for in first place when a team time trial kicked off the 2009 Tour of Italy, donning his first leader's jersey in a major tour event.

"So long as we all get to stand on the podium I don't mind who gets the jersey," he said.

"This Tour of Italy is the 150th anniversary of the unification of the country, so I know it's important for our Italian riders, too."

Cavendish said his main objective was to get at least one stage win.

"If you don't get at least one stage win in a major tour, then you've failed," he said. "I'm in pretty solid shape, even though I'm not as good as I'll be at the Tour de France."

Cavendish, who is based in Tuscany for part of the year, said after the time trial he would target the fourth stage to Livorno, which travels along roads on which he regularly trains.

"Tuscany is also (Italian sprinter Alessandro) Petacchi's home region, so there'll be a lot of interest in winning that stage, a lot of fans along the route," he said.

"But it's got a very tough finish, so there's no saying what will happen."

While ruling out a bid for the Tour of Italy's points jersey, Cavendish calculates that five stages in this year's exceptionally mountainous edition should end in a bunch sprint.

"These days everybody seems to be going for sprints, and it's a very big peloton in this year's Tour of Italy, so that could be trickier," he said. "Rivals? I'm just focusing on getting across the line first."

Unusually, Cavendish will not be the only rider from the Isle of Man taking part this year with Peter Kennaugh making his Grand Tour debut this season with Team Sky.

"He's got really good form, I've been training with him and I could see that," Cavendish said.

"So long as he doesn't get carried away and stick on the front in the first week for too long, which is a mistake young pros sometimes make in their first Tour, he should be all right."

Reuters

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