Italian Racing, British Style

Watch out Italy – the Brits are coming. This year’s Giro d’Italia has a record UK entry of nine riders who are tipped for at least five stage wins and a couple of chances to wear the pink jersey in the opening weekend.

After breaking into the big time with two stage wins in last year’s Tour of Italy we’re expecting more of the same from Mark Cavendish, who is targeting the finishes in Trieste, Milan and Florence.

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After his Milan-San Remo victory Cavendish is a huge star in Italy and the world’s fastest man relishes the chance to go head-to-head with local hero Alessandro Petacchi. It’s what Cavendish thrives on.

“People have always expected results and there’s always been pressure,” he says. “Fortunately I don’t know any difference and just keep winning.” And he shouldn’t be the only Brit on the podium, Garmin-Slipstream are pinning their hopes on Bradley Wiggins in the opening team time trial.

The latest electronic Dura-Ace, a weird elongated outer chainring, even a new short haircut, everything is in place for Wiggo to lead the argyle army.

He also fancies his chances for the individual TT on the final day after missing the win by 10 seconds in 2008.

You can read more about this year’s Giro d’Italia in this week’s issue of Cycling Weekly, packed with news and information on the 2009 race.

Plus, this week we bring you advice on how to recover after long rides; Alf Engers’ historic TT bike; a ride around Nottinghamshire with Team Raleigh; take part in the White Horse Challenge; and much more.

Cycling Weekly May 7 issue is on from Thursday at WHSmith, major supermarkets and all good newsagents priced £2.60.