Mark Cavendish is expected to dominate the sprints at the Giro d?Italia but he?s also got his eye on the opening team time trial and would love to see his Columbia team topple big favourites Garmin led by British rivals Bradley Wiggins and David Millar.

?The Giro lasts 21 days and I think it?s disrespectful if your race starts on the first day and ends on the first day. That?s what Garmin are fundamentally doing,? Cavendish said.

?(Jonathan) Vaughters said their season starts tomorrow. Their sponsors have paid money for six months of the year and I think that?s highly disrespectful to say their season starts tomorrow. It?s May. I think their season starts tomorrow and fundamentally their season is going to end tomorrow. Come on??

?We?ve got a versatile team that can compete for every days and we?ve got guys who can go for GC. We?ve got 21 races and the overall, Garmin have got the team time trial and what else?

TEAM TIME TRIAL: ?IT SUITS A STRONG TEAM?

Columbia finished seven seconds behind Garmin in Palermo last year. Cavendish revealed to Cycling Weekly that Columbia were ahead until three kilometres to go. He and his team mates have not prepared as intensely as Garmin but he thinks they can do well.

?The team time trial is a lot more technical than it seems. Practice does make perfect. I grew up doing team time trials and team pursuits with the British Academy and it?s unbelievable how many pros can?t ride a team time trial. If you practice you can get a hell of a lot better.?

?It?s about getting the whole team to work as a unit. The course isn?t very technical. There are a few roundabouts but you can?t go eyeballs out. That?s the technicality of the team time trial. It suits a strong team. There are no areas to hide or gain time on corners. The strong teams are going to work well as a unit.?

?THE MAGLIA ROSA WILL BE A BIG, BIG TARGET?

Cavendish has listed three stages he wants to win: stage two to Trieste, stage nine in Milan and stage 13 to Florence. He was ill after taking a break in April but sharpened his form at the Tour de Romandie. He plays down his chances but will surely be able to blast past Petacchi in the sprints.

?I?m not in top shape. I had a big spring and I?ll have a big spring. I?m not in bad condition and I?m stronger. The good thing about being a sprinter is that you don?t have to be in a top, top position to win as long as your team delivers you well.?

?We?ll see how it goes. We?ve got a chance of winning the team time trial and we?ll go full out to do that. If we don?t win, as long as we can limit our losses and get the time bonuses the day after, the maglia rosa will bee a big, big target. It?d be nice to bring that to the team.?

?It?d nice to wear a jersey one day. I haven?t worn a jersey in a major Tour yet. The pink jersey or the (sprinter?s) ciclamino jersey. The maglia rosa is the most important and it?s within my capabilities to win that on the first stages, so I?ll try for that. If not I?d like the ciclamino jersey.?

?There are four or five opportunities for me this year but there are four or five for other sprinters as well. Because of the course it?s going to be either a sprint or not, there won?t be any stage were some sprinters can get over the climbs.?

?But I?m not under pressure because we?ve got such a versatile team that can perform well overall and on every stage. We?ve got 21 chances of success in the Giro and a chance of overall victory.?


Giro d’Italia 2009 links

News

Team time trial start times

Cycling Weekly’s Giro d’Italia top ten prediction

Brits in Venice for Giro presentation

Armstrong overshadows overall favourites at Giro presentation

Armstrong confident of finding new sponsor for Astana

Armstrong working to save Astana team

Wiggins in top form for Giro

Garmin Slipstream kitted out for Giro opener

Dan Lloyd gets late Giro call-up

Armstrong’s special Giro bikes unveiled

Daniel Lloyd overlooked for Giro ride

Cummings and Thomas not selected for Giro d’Italia

Cavendish tests Giro form at Tour of Romandie

David Millar confirms he’s riding in 2009 Giro

Bennati to take on Cavendish in Giro 2009 sprints

2009 Giro d’Italia to start in Venice

Evans and Silence-Lotto disagree on Giro 2009 ride

Armstrong to ride 2009 Giro

Tuttosport reveals 2009 Giro d’Italia route

Dolce & Gabbana design new Giro jersey

Features

Giro d’Italia 2009: The Big Preview

CW’s Giro top ten prediction

Brits in the Giro 2009

Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish

CW Classic: the 1987 Giro d’Italia


2008 Giro d’Italia archive

Giro d’Italia 2008 coverage index – race reports, photos, results

From rule Britannia to cruel Britannia

Giro 2008: The final word on this year’s race

Brits at the 2008 Giro: photo special

Five days to go, what’s in store?

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

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

Giro d’Italia 2008 preview

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