Cavendish up against odds at Worlds, says defending champ Evans

Mark Cavendish after winning stage 18, Andy Jones at the Tour de France 2010

Mark Cavendish and his British team will have a fight on their hands to win the World Championships this Sunday in Geelong, Australia, according to defending champion Cadel Evans.

"What Cavendish has to overcome is that a lot of people don't ride at the finish with him," said Evans today.

"Obviously Britain would like to have Cavendish at the finish, but when a team like Italy or Belgium come without a sprinter versus the British team. You have two of the strongest teams who want a different outcome to the race, and normally they'll go in the direction of the stronger teams who control the race."

Evans won the race last year in Mendrisio, Switzerland, with an attack ahead of the final climb. This year's circuit in Geelong is easier than Mendrisio's, but still not an all-out sprinters' circuit as the circuit next year in Copenhagen wil be.

British Cycling's Performance Director David Brailsford, though, argues that the circuit will suit Cavendish. He previewed the circuit Sunday in a car, including both climbs, and concluded that Cavendish will have his chance.

"I've done a few laps of it, living close by in the summer, it's going to depend a lot on the weather conditions and how the bigger teams really race, not only on the initial laps but also on the way out from Melbourne," continued Evans.

"If it's raced hard, it's going to be a really hard circuit, but no Worlds is easy, that's for sure."

Evans added that Italy's Filippo Pozzato and Belgium's Philippe Gilbert are "the ones to beat." Early this month, he discounted his own chances.

Cavendish is ready for the challenge. Today he and Jeremy Hunt rode the first leg of the Worlds course from Melbourne to Geelong. In Geelong, they tested themselves on the main climb.

Related links

World Championships 2010: Cycling Weekly's coverage index

Cadel Evans: Rider Profile

Mark Cavendish: Rider Profile

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