Mark Cavendish (Columbia) rides Milan-San Remo for the first time on Saturday.

He has the finishing speed to beat all the other sprinters in the race but has admitted that he does not think he has a realistic chance of victory in this year?s race.

As ever he’ll give it 100% but this year will be about learning how to win in the future.

?I?ve got the impression that I can win it in the future but not this year. It?s not impossible for me to win this year but it?s unrealistic to say I can go in with the biggest opportunity to win,? he said at the end of Tirreno-Adriatico.

?I?m 23 and 300km is a long way at 23. Milan-San Remo is one of biggest races in the world and so I have to show it the respect it deserves. I can?t just go in thinking I can win it. I?ve got a plan, so there?s no pressure from myself or from the team to get a result. If I get a result, I get a result. If I don?t I?ll still sleep at night and learn for the next few years.?

?I want to go with full focus to win it but this year. I?m going 100% and it’s disrespectful if I don?t go 100% in a race, but to think about a big result this year is a bit over-reaching it.?

Cavendish refuted claims he is more handicapped by the climbs in Milan-San Remo than other climbers.

?I think any sprinter is at their limit on any climb. I?m scared of the climb but so are Petacchi, Boonen and Hushovd. That?s what Milan-San Remo is about, you have to earn the privilege of sprinting by getting over the climbs. That how it is,? he said.

Asked to name his own favourite for victory, Cavendish took time to think. He eventually said: ?Daniele Bennati?.

Of course Bennati is Cavendish’s favourite as long he isn?t up there himself.


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