Mark Cavendish is aiming to become the first British rider to win three stages in a single grand tour today.

But has he jinxed it by wearing white socks instead of the black ones he wore when he won each of his stages in this Giro d?Italia?

The 23-year-old High Road man is likely to go head-to-head with Italian Daniele Bennati at the finish in Locarno at the end of the 146-kilomete stage, which is lumpy but has a flat run-in that will favour the sprinters? teams.

And if he wins, it will be his third stage victory of the Giro d?Italia, having one in Lungomare Catanzaro and Cittadella.

It would make him the first Brit to win three stages in a grand tour.

At the start he was wearing white socks, not his usual black ? a decision that will please the purists, no doubt.

He said: ?I?m really happy to make it through the Dolomites. I was really tired after those two stages but after the rest day I feel a lot better. We?re almost at Milan, so I really want to make it now.?

Cavendish, Bennati and Erik Zabel are virtually the only sprinters left in the race after the likes of Robbie McEwen headed home when the race hit the big mountains. ?It means there?s a danger of an early break going and no one wanting to chase it,? Cavendish said. ?There?s us, Milram and Liquigas to chase so hopefully that?ll be enough.?

His coach, Max Sciandri, planned to drive the last kilometres of the race and again relay any useful information to High Road?s team management, who can then pass it on to Cavendish before the finish.

The plan for this afternoon?s finish is for Bradley Wiggins to be the last-but-one man in the High Road train before either Andre Greipel or Tony Martin ? depending on what happens in the latter stages ? gives Cavendish the final lead-out.

The British riders who have won two stages in the same grand tour

Barry Hoban ? 1964 Vuelta a Espana
Tom Simpson ? 1967 Vuelta a Espana
Michael Wright ? 1968 Vuelta a Espana
Michael Wright ? 1969 Vuelta a Espana
Barry Hoban ? 1969 Tour de France
Barry Hoban ? 1973 Tour de France
Malcolm Elliott ? 1989 Vuelta a Espana
David Millar ? 2001 Vuelta a Espana
Mark Cavendish ? 2008 Giro d?Italia

Stage 16: Pellizotti wins mountain time trial
Stage 15: Sella strikes again in the mountains
Stage 14: Sella wins first Giro mountains stage
Stage 13: Easy victory for super-fast Cavendish
Stage 12: Bennati gets photo finish verdict over Cavendish
Stage 11: Bertolini wins hilly stage
Stage 10: Bruseghin wins Giro d’Italia time trial
Stage nine: Cavendish misses out in sprint
Stage eight: Ricco wins again
Stage seven: Di Luca, Ricco and Contador gain time on rivals
Stage six: Italians clean up
Stage five: Millar denied by snapped chain
Stage four: Cavendish wins
Stage three: Bennati romps home
Stage two: Ricco wins Giro d’Italia second stage
Stage one TTT: Slipstream wins Giro team time trial

Six Brits finish mountain time trial [stage 16]
Cavendish disappointed after missing out in Giro sprint
Can Cavendish win the Giro today? [stage 12]
Aggressive Cummings comes away empty handed [stage six]
Millar speaks out after missing out in Giro [stage five]
Reaction to Cavendish’s Giro stage win
Cav hits back at Pozzato’s snipe
Cavendish: This is my biggest win [stage four]
Millar celebrates Slipstream Giro d’Italia success
Bettini looking for final Giro glory
Astana’s troubled build-up to the Giro
Petacchi banned for Salbutamol positive
Yates and Astana make last minute rush to Giro

Giro d’Italia 2008: Photo gallery, week two – new photos added daily
Giro d’Italia 2008: Photo gallery, week one.

Five days to go, what’s in store?
Giro d’Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 27)
Cycling Weekly’s all-time list of British pro winners
Giro d’Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 19)
Rest day 1: How the favourites are doing
Giro Britannia part two: From rule Britannia to cruel Britannia
Tuesday Comment (May 13): Why Cavendish is a bona fide world-class star
Giro Britannia: how the Brits are doing in Italy
Giro d’Italia 2008 preview
Giro d’Italia 2008: who will win?
Giro d’Italia 2008: The British are coming
Giro d’Italia on Eurosport: TV schedule