“We did our homework,” was how Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) opened up his press conference when he was asked about his second bunch sprint victory in two days in the Vuelta a Espana, and in particular how he and leadout man Matt Goss had come through a sharp corner in the final kilometre so well.
“Everybody knew it was a 110 degree corner, because that was in the route book, but we knew it was wide, too, so we could take it fast.”
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“Everybody braked but Matt went straight up the inside and he was going at a phenomenal pace.”
“It was hard to stay on his wheel at one point he was going so fast, I had to start the sprint a little bit later, and I went a little bit into the red.”
“But he did an incredible job, like all my team-mates today, and that’s what counted.”
Discussing his ‘bunnyhop’ sprint on the line, Cavendish said “I just like to do stuff like that, I did something similar last year for HTC in the Tour de France” – when he made his famous ‘telephone’ gesture as he crossed the line.
“I work with a great group of partners and suppliers and it’s nice to be able to give them something back.”
But it wasn’t all good news for HTC-Columbia yesterday. After Bernie Eisel abandoned early on in the race, today they lost what Cavendish called another “big engine,” Kiwi Hayden Roulston, who went home after just ten kilometres with a pulled tendon.
“Bernie was an experienced guy and it was hard to lose him, and losing Hayden – he’s the biggest engine for the final. I hope he’s ok, and wish him all the best.”
Whilst pleased with taking more points in what is fast becoming a bid for green in Madrid, Cavendish had harsh words about sprinters Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions) and Wouter Weylandt (Quick Step) whom he accused of working together to prevent him take points in an intermediate sprint early on in the stage.
“It’s a nice cushion [21 points over Farrar] but I’ll take every stage as it comes.”
“Igor Anton [Euskaltel-Euskadi, race leader] could get points in the upcoming mountain stages but there’s still a couple more sprints to come.”
“But unfortunately, now Weylandt’s actually working for Farrar in the intermediate sprints that’s a disadvantage.”