Mark Cavendish relied on Geraint Thomas today in Herning, Denmark, to deliver him to his first Grand Tour stage win since joining Sky. Thomas pulled off Peter Kennaugh’s wheel and led Cavendish to win the second leg of the 2012 Giro d’Italia ahead of Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge).

“They did a great job, a lot of credit to all the team,” team manager, David Brailsford told Cycling Weekly. “In particular, Mark will be proud of Geraint and the work he did in the final two to two and a half K – that was pretty impressive. Over time, if that partnership develops, that’s going to be an exciting prospect.”

Thomas and Kennaugh both raced at the track World Championships in Melbourne last month. They were part of the four-man team that won the team pursuit. Together with Cavendish, they have a close relationship as they passed through the British Academy together as amateurs.

Cavendish was only able to race professionally with them starting this year, when he joined Sky from team HTC-Highroad. With HTC, Cavendish typically was unable to win the first sprint stage in a Grand Tour. The only time he did so, was at the 2009 Tour de France.

“It wasn’t lost on us, we wanted to come here and hit it on the first days,” continued Brailsford. “The guys, especially the British guys who were on the academy together, were really excited about this, they’ve been taking about it for weeks. They just want to get stuck in and involved.”

Cavendish was encouraged by the first win. He said before the start of the race that there are about six possible sprint stages. Now, with one, the first available, he’s in a good position to score more wins.

“I’ve won now five times this year, it’s good for my [Worlds rainbow] jersey and in a new team,” Cavendish said in the press conference. “I never win the first sprint stage, I’ve never won the first sprint at the Giro. I’d like to carry on like this.”

The secret? According to Brailsford, it’s teaming Cavendish with his old Academy mate, Thomas. He’ll help Cavendish as much as possible in the Giro and afterwards skip the Tour de France to focus on the London Olympics.

“Geraint has such a turn of speed, and it’s progressive. And he’s so good at positioning,” Brailsford said. “I’m confident over time you’re going to see that partnership develop and it’s going to be impressive. A match made in heaven.”

Geraint Thomas

Related links

Cavendish wins Giro stage in Herning

Stage two photo gallery

Stage one: Phinney wins opening TT

Giro d’Italia 2012: Coverage index

Giro d’Italia 2012: Latest news

Cavendish faces first Grand Tour as World Champ and father

Frank Schleck’s last minute Giro adventure

Swift out of Giro after training crash

Giro d’Italia 2012: Who will win?

Sky to battle for Giro’s team time trial

Hesjedal aims for Giro win

Giro d’Italia 2012: Start list

Cavendish, Thomas, Kennaugh, Swift and Stannard for Giro

Giro d’Italia 2012: Jerseys unveiled

Giro d’Italia organiser announces wildcard teams for 2012

Giro d’Italia 2012 route revealed

Giro d’Italia 2012: Live coverage

Giro d’Italia 2012 live text coverage schedule

Giro d’Italia 2012: Teams and riders

Giro d’Italia 2012 start list

Giro d’Italia 2012: TV guide

Giro d’Italia 2012: British Eurosport TV schedule

  • adam

    Yep – G is a super talented rider and a really nice guy. I had the pleasure to photograph him back in Barloworld days. Him and Magnus B were the most accomodating chaps…. unlike some others 🙂 I agree that cycling has a long history of important domestiques and that’s not lost on G. And Cav ALWAYS ALWAYS thanks his team. He knows how important they are… G will add other things to his career wins along the way, that’s for sure. For now, if he delivers Cav to the line first, that’s not only important for Cav and him, it’s massive for the exposure and sponsorship value it brings to British cycling.

  • roginoz

    prologue now this….the dragon has fiyah….. show it off lovely boy !

  • arronski

    Because Cavandish is the Best Sprinter on the Planet, and that’s why Sky got him to win Sprint’s, G is not a sprinter al thou he has a good finish speed he is a perfect lead out man for Cav having grown up racing in GB together and has Track tactical awareness { He has already one a TT on the road this year not to mention 2012 Team Pursuit World Champion { with a new World Record !

    Geraint is doing fine and will smash it in the Velodrome in the Olympics, one more thing if you go to a road race Geraint is always outside the team bus signing autographs for fans, top man.

    Road Cycling is and always will be a Team Sport.

  • JustMe

    @MikeCope Glad someone mentioned it…! Not saying that “Cav’s No.1 lead out guitar” was an unworthy title, and Thomas really seems to like it like that, too. (Maybe even better than going for a good GC himself? At least at this point of his career?) But still… I, too, get this feeling of unease when people make it sound like it was his final destination… Time will tell, I guess.

  • MikeCope

    Why oh why waste Geraint Thomas s talent s on helping Cavendish , surely , he is worthy of more ?