Mark Cavendish has been named in the HTC-Columbia team for next year’s Tour Down Under, setting up a mouth-watering three-way sprint battle between him, Andre Greipel and Tyler Farrar.
It will be the first time Cavendish has sprinted against Greipel now the German has left HTC for Omega Pharma Lotto. The two were given separate race programmes since they fell out at the 2008 Giro d’Italia.
Greipel has claimed he is as fast as Cavendish, while the Manxman dismissed Greipel saying he only won ‘shit small races’. Greipel has twice won the Tour Down Under, and taken stages in the Giro and Vuelta, but has never ridden the Tour de France.
American Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo) should be more of a threat to Cavendish in the race, although he’ll have to overcome the HTC sprint train if he wants to take a win. The race is traditionally one for the sprinters and HTC are sending Matt Goss, Mark Renshaw and Hayden Roulston – their main lead-out train.
Cavendish’s full race program for 2011 is yet to be announced. The world road race championships in Copenhagen will feature heavily, as will the Tour de France. Whether or not riding the Tour Down Under is part of a build up to another crack at Milan San Remo is yet to be seen.
The Tour Down Under runs from January 16-23 2011, and is the first UCI ProTour event on the Calendar.
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2011 Tour Down Under: Stages
Sun Jan 16: Cancer Council Classic
Tues Jan 18: Stage one – Mawson Lakes to Angaston, 138km
Weds Jan 19: Stage two – Tailem Bend to Mannum, 146km
Thurs Jan 20: Stage three – Unley to Stirling, 129km
Fri Jan 21: Stage four – Norwood to Strathalbyn, 124km
Sat Jan 22: Stage five – McLaren Vale to Willunga, 131km
Sun Jan 23: Stage six – Adelaide City Council Street Circuit, 90km