Mark Cavendish is aiming to become the first British rider to win three stages in a single grand tour today.

But has he jinxed it by wearing white socks instead of the black ones he wore when he won each of his stages in this Giro d?Italia?

The 23-year-old High Road man is likely to go head-to-head with Italian Daniele Bennati at the finish in Locarno at the end of the 146-kilomete stage, which is lumpy but has a flat run-in that will favour the sprinters? teams.

And if he wins, it will be his third stage victory of the Giro d?Italia, having one in Lungomare Catanzaro and Cittadella.

It would make him the first Brit to win three stages in a grand tour.

At the start he was wearing white socks, not his usual black ? a decision that will please the purists, no doubt.

He said: ?I?m really happy to make it through the Dolomites. I was really tired after those two stages but after the rest day I feel a lot better. We?re almost at Milan, so I really want to make it now.?

Cavendish, Bennati and Erik Zabel are virtually the only sprinters left in the race after the likes of Robbie McEwen headed home when the race hit the big mountains. ?It means there?s a danger of an early break going and no one wanting to chase it,? Cavendish said. ?There?s us, Milram and Liquigas to chase so hopefully that?ll be enough.?

His coach, Max Sciandri, planned to drive the last kilometres of the race and again relay any useful information to High Road?s team management, who can then pass it on to Cavendish before the finish.

The plan for this afternoon?s finish is for Bradley Wiggins to be the last-but-one man in the High Road train before either Andre Greipel or Tony Martin ? depending on what happens in the latter stages ? gives Cavendish the final lead-out.

BRITAIN?S DOUBLE STAGE WINNERS

The British riders who have won two stages in the same grand tour

Barry Hoban ? 1964 Vuelta a Espana

Tom Simpson ? 1967 Vuelta a Espana

Michael Wright ? 1968 Vuelta a Espana

Michael Wright ? 1969 Vuelta a Espana

Barry Hoban ? 1969 Tour de France

Barry Hoban ? 1973 Tour de France

Malcolm Elliott ? 1989 Vuelta a Espana

David Millar ? 2001 Vuelta a Espana

Mark Cavendish ? 2008 Giro d?Italia

GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: STAGE REPORTS

Stage 16: Pellizotti wins mountain time trial

Stage 15: Sella strikes again in the mountains

Stage 14: Sella wins first Giro mountains stage

Stage 13: Easy victory for super-fast Cavendish

Stage 12: Bennati gets photo finish verdict over Cavendish

Stage 11: Bertolini wins hilly stage

Stage 10: Bruseghin wins Giro d’Italia time trial

Stage nine: Cavendish misses out in sprint

Stage eight: Ricco wins again

Stage seven: Di Luca, Ricco and Contador gain time on rivals

Stage six: Italians clean up

Stage five: Millar denied by snapped chain

Stage four: Cavendish wins

Stage three: Bennati romps home

Stage two: Ricco wins Giro d’Italia second stage

Stage one TTT: Slipstream wins Giro team time trial

GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: NEWS

Six Brits finish mountain time trial [stage 16]

Cavendish disappointed after missing out in Giro sprint

Can Cavendish win the Giro today? [stage 12]

Aggressive Cummings comes away empty handed [stage six]

Millar speaks out after missing out in Giro [stage five]

Reaction to Cavendish’s Giro stage win

Cav hits back at Pozzato’s snipe

Cavendish: This is my biggest win [stage four]

Millar celebrates Slipstream Giro d’Italia success

Bettini looking for final Giro glory

Astana’s troubled build-up to the Giro

Petacchi banned for Salbutamol positive

Yates and Astana make last minute rush to Giro

GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: PHOTOS

Giro d’Italia 2008: Photo gallery, week two – new photos added daily

Giro d’Italia 2008: Photo gallery, week one.

GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: FEATURES

Five days to go, what’s in store?

Giro d’Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 27)

Cycling Weekly’s all-time list of British pro winners

Giro d’Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 19)

Rest day 1: How the favourites are doing

Giro Britannia part two: From rule Britannia to cruel Britannia

Tuesday Comment (May 13): Why Cavendish is a bona fide world-class star

Giro Britannia: how the Brits are doing in Italy

Giro d’Italia 2008 preview

Giro d’Italia 2008: who will win?

Giro d’Italia 2008: The British are coming

Giro d’Italia on Eurosport: TV schedule