HTC-Columbia sports director Tristan Hoffman was unsurprisingly delighted to see Mark Cavendish clinch his first bunch sprint victory of the Vuelta after a fortnight of near misses – and it was a win that came straight out of the morning meeting.
“We started really well in the TTT, and he had a big part in that. Afterwards, we kept on trying to win a stage. It didn’t work out, it had
its reasons – maybe luck was not on our side – but we kept on working and believing and today, it
did,” Hoffman said after the Briton’s ninth victory of the year.
The HTC leadout conquered the tricky finale in Lleida,which included a corner 200 metres from the finish – and preparation was key. “In the morning, we talked about what the plan was: sending someone in the break and let everyone have a chance and when it came together, we had Mark,” Hoffman continued.
“We knew about the last corner, and Mark had a perfect leadout from the team, especially from Goss. Everything worked out perfectly.”
Having also spoken to Cycling Weekly this morning, hours before the win, Hoffman had put Cavendish’s legs as “good, but not super”. Now he will enter the final week of the Vuelta with added confidence and the points jersey back on his shoulders.
Despite a mountainous weekend, there are three potential bunch sprint opportunities remaining in the Vuelta: tomorrow’s thirteenth stage between Rincon de Soto and Burgos and stages 18 and 19, to Salamanca and Toledo respectively.
“There’s still a few chances left to win a sprint. If we have to control the whole day, it’s really difficult, but we’ve got to try,” Hoffman said.
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