Cavendish likely to take Giro lead tomorrow

Mark Cavendish, Tour of Oman, stage six

Mark Cavendish will wear the leader's pink jersey at the Giro d'Italia tomorrow in Parma if he finishes first or second. He helped HTC-Highroad team-mate Marco Pinotti take the jersey today in the team time trial in Turin. Sunday, though, will be his chance.

"That was the dream, but now we are in the position to make it happen," said the team's sports director, Valerio Piva." We will try tomorrow in the sprint for Mark, taking the jersey from Marco."

Cavendish sits in fourth place overall on the same time as Pinotti. The race's longest stage tomorrow, 244 kilometres from Alba to Parma in Emilia-Romagna suits the sprinters. If Cavendish wins, he will earn 20 bonus seconds. For second or third, he will take 12 or eight seconds. Only Robbie McEwen (RadioShack) could spoil the party. If he wins, and Cavendish fishes third or less, he'll take the pink jersey.

HTC hopes Cavendish takes the jersey to follow the success of Italian Marco Pinotti. It finished with only five men, giving Pinotti the right to lead the team over the line in case it won the stage.

"We decided in the morning," continued Piva. "We made the decision because he's national champion, it's the 150th anniversary of Italy, the race is a huge national event... I think he deserved this. Mark Cavendish was happy with the decision; he knows that he has a chance tomorrow."

"It was a decision," added Pinotti, "taken with Rolf [Aldag], Valerio and the riders."

Pinotti and the team decided to let Cavendish lead over the line two years ago at the start of the Giro in Venice. Cavendish wore the jersey for two days and won three stages.

"I know it's not easy [for Cavendish], I lived with the same decision two years ago in Venice," Pinotti said. "Clearly, everyone wants to pass first. Cavendish was the first to agree, though. In fact, the guys wanted me to pass first on the other occasions, in the Tirreno-Adriatico or in Palermo [three years ago in 2008]... I was owed one!"

For Cavendish to get his occasion, he must face several sprint rivals, including Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervélo) and Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD). He regularly beat the two at the Tour de France last year, a good sign for his chances to take pink tomorrow.

Giro d'Italia 2011: Related links

Giro d'Italia 2011: Cycling Weekly's coverage index

Giro d'Italia 2011: Start list

Giro d'Italia 2011: Latest news

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