Mark Cavendish confident ahead of Milan-San Remo after tough week at Tirreno-Adriatico

Manxman says he's in good form to repeat 2009 win

Mark Cavendish at the 2016 Tour de France
(Image credit: Watson)

Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) may lack a Tirreno-Adriatico stage win, but says that the last week in central Italy has been perfect preparation for Milan-San Remo.

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors), two of Cavendish's main rivals for Milan-San Remo, won the two sprint stages on offer in Tirreno-Adriatico.

"It's been a nice Tirreno-Adriatico, the stages haven't been overly difficult, but enough there that you can dig deep," Cavendish said.

"There have been some years where we've crossed the Apennines into a headwind and you lose form because you just go slow all day or other days that it's just so hard that you go slow, but it's gone back to that way have having short punchy climbs and it's quite good for everyone's condition."

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The week began with a team time trial in Tuscany and ends with an individual time trial today along the Adriatic coast to the east.

The riders climbed medium-mountain stages to Pomarance, where Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) won, and to Fermo, and of course the summit finish to Terminillo that Nairo Quintana (Movistar) used to take the race leader’s blue jersey.

"If you are looking at Milan-San Remo, there are some years when Tirreno has been like I said before, a climber's race, then it would've been better to be in Paris-Nice, but when it's a week like this week, I think it doesn't matter much which one you do."

Watch: 2017 WorldTour changes

Cavendish won stages at Tirreno-Adriatico in 2009, 2012 and 2014. The stage race, along with Paris-Nice in France, leads up to the Italian monument Milan-San Remo, which Cavendish won in 2009.

His season is much more streamlined for 2017 without having to also focus on preparing for the track at the Olympics as he had to in 2016.

"I know about where I am a bit more compared to last year," Cavendish explained.

"I'd just come off the track last year. By not coming off the track I should have a bit more form for Milan-San Remo."

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Cavendish will lead Dimension Data with Steve Cummings and Edvald Boasson Hagen. Englishman Scott Thwaites, who placed seventh in the stage six's sprint behind Gaviria, is due to form part of the eight-man roster.

"It's the easiest to finish, but the hardest to win, there are so many scenarios that happen over 300 kilometres every centimetre counts," Cavendish said.

"You never know until the last centimetres. For that's what makes it beautiful, you can never predict the winner."

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Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.