Mark Cavendish begins his first long stint away from home after becoming a dad. He leads Team Sky in the 2012 Giro d'Italia starting tomorrow in Herning, Denmark.
Cavendish won the World title down the road in Copenhagen last September, and on April 3 this year his new baby girl, Delilah Grace arrived. If anything, the milestones only strengthened his determination. At the Scandic Silkeborg Hotel, a 30-minute drive down a quiet Danish road from Herning, he explained he is racing for his family now.
"I've been training hard," he said to the surrounding press. "I'm more determined. I'm not just cycling for myself now, everything I do affects the future of my daughter."
The 2012 Giro runs until May 27. Last year, he abandoned after the 12th stage, but he says that he plans to race all three weeks this year. About 10 to 15 journalists listened in as he spoke quietly and appeared a more mature figure, complete with glasses.
"When I'm away training it's a bit hard. When I'm at a race, it's like going to work, it's my job, I have to do it. With modern day, we have Facetime, I can see them every night, it's nice," he explained.
"I'm going to be away anyway, so I might as well make it all count when I'm away. It makes it easier to go away and miss home."
Cavendish returned to racing in the Tour of Romandy at the end of last month. He helped Bradley Wiggins win the overall and pulled out before the final mountain time trial stage. He said he's since been training hard at home to be ready for the Giro.
"It's been all right, I've trained fine. I've actually slept fine to be honest. This myth about coming away to races to get some sleep... I'd rather be home with a baby than dealing with this."
Tomorrow he begins the Giro with an 8.7-kilometre time trial in Herning's centre. The idea is to place well so that he'll have a chance to trade his World's jersey for the pink jersey in the following two road stages or the team time trial on Wednesday in Verona.
"I hope to get the train drilled and I can win some stages. We have a strong team for the time trial, we'd love to get the pink jersey at some point and hold on to it for as long as possible."
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