Mark Cavendish and Sky are fine-tuning their sprint train ahead of Milan-San Remo on Saturday and the season’s one-day races.
“We have a lot of great combinations,” Cavendish explained. “I’m confident I can go to many races with a different group of guys and we can win.”
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Cavendish won the second stage of Tirreno-Adriatico last week in Italy with Edvald Boasson Hagen for company. The Norwegian will likely be the key to Cav’s San Remo success, similar to George Hincapie in 2009.
“Even if Geraint [Thomas] was in the team, for San Remo, you’d always think that Edvald would be the one,” race coach Rod Ellingworth said. “There’ll have to be a call at the top of Poggio. It’s if Mark is there or not. If he is, then, as Eddy said, Mark’s the fastest rider in the world.”
Besides 298 kilometres, cyclists have to negotiate multiple ramps and the final two Cipressa and Poggio climbs.
Sky finalised its eight-man team for the job yesterday or today. Ellingworth explained that it consists mainly with the Tirreno team, but with Michael Rogers replacing Chris Sutton. As Cavendish said, though, he needs to be able to rely on any combination to win.
“I’m keen to keep trying different things,” Ellingworth continued. “Mark won’t have a perfect train in the three one-day hits this season – Milan-San Remo, Ghent-Wevelgem and the Olympics – he’ll have two or three guys, that’s it. We need to rely on a few people to do the job.”
Sky ideally wants to get both Cavendish and Boasson Hagen to the final Poggio climb. Ellingworth added, “We have some good bike riders to be able to do that.” He listed Rogers, Ian Stannard and Mat Hayman as being integral in the winning combination.