Brit Mark Cavendish starts Tirreno-Adriatico today in Italy as his final preparation for Milan-San Remo, but he said that his HTC-Columbia team will not be taking charge in the sprints like normal.

“You won’t see us like normal, you won’t see us taking up the chase like we normally do,” Cavendish said in Livorno. “We will leave it to the other teams. If they start riding, then we will ride, but we are not going to initiate it as we normally do. We are not that confident.”

Cavendish has recovered from dental problems, but they delayed his season start and his training. Tirreno-Adriatico, March 10 to 16, is only his fourth race of the season, but he believes it offers opportunities to win prior to Milan-San Remo, March 20.

“Today and the last day [for sprint finishes], and maybe Friday because the climbs are not that hard. We will see, I am not going to kill myself to get over them, but I do want to ride into some condition.”

Cavendish raced Milan-San Remo for the first time last year, and won. The race, nearly 300 kilometres, starts in Milan and finishes along the Ligurian coast. Cavendish and his HTC team-mates rode part of the final kilometres on Sunday, the day after he raced Strade Bianche.

“I was in better form than I thought I was on Saturday, but not like last year,” continued Cavendish. “We did some good training the next day, I felt okay on the Cipressa and Poggio. [We rode] the last 110 kilometres, about from five kilometres before Le Mànie, then the Tre Capi, Cipressa and Poggio.”

Cavendish won four races by this same point last year, but this year he has yet to win. He said today that he feels stronger this year despite lacking wins and the same number of training kilometres.

“I am a little bit heavier, obviously, but I am a lot stronger than last year… naturally stronger. Obviously, I have not trained as much.”

Related links
Tirreno-Adriatico 2010: The Big Preview
Mark Cavendish: Rider Profile

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  • Sean Riley

    Mark Cavendish is a breath of fresh air to cycling,his swashbuckling ability on a bike,”devil may care & say it how it is” attitude,bugs journalists,the cycling authorities & some fans but the history books don’t lie,his wins are entered in black & white forever.
    I love him for all his brilliance & his faults alike,I love him for the reason he tots up 6 wins in the Tour,all his wins in the Giro,Vuelta,Milan-San remo,etc ,it’s been badly needed a maveric with fantastic attacking ability,someone who won’t be bullied in the peloton,someone who stands up for himself,like Mario Cippolini,Djamoloudin & now Cav’s coach,Eric Zabel.
    I’m sure he’s helped to fine tune him but I can’t help thinking,that a few of those 2nd places would’ve turned into wins,with Mark’s “I’m coming through hard luck” attitude,the best part of it all,is that he’s BRITISH & about time we had something to shout about,keep the wins coming Cav & get GB that green jersey this year.