Mark Cavendish could ride Giro d'Italia in run-up to Tour de France record attempt

The more races the better, says Astana Qazaqstan boss Alexandre Vinokourov

Mark Cavendish Muscat Classic
(Image credit: Alex Broadway / Getty Images)

Mark Cavendish could ride the Giro d'Italia in the run-up to his attempt at breaking the Tour de France stage win record, Astana Qazaqstan team boss Alexandre Vinokourov has said.

Vinokourov was speaking at the Tour of Oman, reports our sister outlet Cyclingnews, saying that he had discussed the possibility of riding both races with Cavendish.

“I don’t know about going to the finish, but for preparation, winning stages is always a good motivation and it helps to arrive relaxed to the Tour," Vinokourov said. "We’ll see later, but in any case, it’s an idea and Mark is open to it. I think the more races you do, the better it is.”

The Manxman hopes to beat the record 34 Tour de France stage wins this year – a figure he currently shares with Belgian great Eddy Merckx.

Vinokourov also said Cavendish was hoping to have opened his win tally ahead of the Giro with some early-season victories: “We’ll try to win races before and then concentrate on the Giro and Tour," he said.

Outlining the 37-year-old's run-in to the Tour, Vinokourov explained: “After UAE, it’s Tirreno [Adriatico] and I think Milan-San Remo too. Then he’ll do some races in Belgium. He’ll rest a little bit and then race the Tour of Turkey and maybe the Giro.”

Cavendish's last WorldTour win was indeed at the Giro last year, where he won the stage three bunch sprint into Balathonfüred in Hungary, but he was left out of the Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl Tour de France roster, with team boss Patrick Lefevere favouring comeback sprinter Fabio Jakobsen.

Cavendish had been due to ride for the B&B Hotels team for this season until its collapse in November, and he ultimately secured a place on Astana.

This week's Tour of Oman, and its preceding sister event the Muscat Classic, were his first races of the season. He DNF'd in the Muscat Classic, and there was only one obvious bunch finish in the Oman tour. That was won by Soudal-Quick Step's Tim Merlier, with Cavendish finishing down in 21st place.

The rest of the stages essentially finished uphill, ruling out the bunch sprinters, but Cavendish's next appointment – the UAE Tour, starting on Monday 20 Feb – looks more promising for him, with four flat stages out of the seven in total.

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