Despite being a former winner of Milan-San Remo, Mark Cavendish has said that no one from Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl spoke to him about riding the race this weekend, with team-mate Fabio Jakobsen chosen to ride.
Speaking after he won the 159th race of his career, Milano-Torino, on Wednesday, the Manxman said "I'd like to do it, but nobody talked to me so..."
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl released their squad for La Classicissima on Wednesday morning, revealing that former winner Julian Alaphilippe was out of the race with illness; as a result Jakobsen was drafted into the team. This decision was made despite the fact that Cavendish was already in Italy following Tirreno-Adriatico, and it will be the Dutchman's debut at the race.
"You'll have to ask the team," he said in the post-race press conference. "No-one from the team talked to me about it, so I don't know, I don't know. Obviously, I have won it...
"I'm on a separate programme this year," he added. "I don't really do any big races, though I'll be back in Italy for the Giro d'Italia."
Any talk of competition between Jakobsen and Cavendish has been dismissed by the riders and the team, with the former saying last month that it had been made up by the media.
However, it is thought that Jakobsen is currently in pole position to ride the Tour de France in July, with the Dutchman proving that he is in good form this year, winning six times. It would mean that Cavendish would not have the opportunity to solely claim the record for Tour stage wins, which he currently holds jointly with Eddy Merckx.
Cavendish won Milan-San Remo in 2009, beating Heinrich Haussler on the Via Roma, but the race has in recent years not been dominated by sprinters as it once was. That was win number 35 for Cavendish, and he has since won 134 more races over 13 years.
The 36-year old said immediately post-race that it was "quite special" to see his name up on the list of Milano-Torino winners, but later said he was not racing for statistics.
"I'm not here for numbers," he said. "The numbers are just a statistic and I'm not a rider on statistics. I'm a rider at heart, and I just love it. I'm having fun with my friends and that's all that matters to me."
He paid tribute to those "friends" after Milano-Torino, saying that they had done an "incredible" job to guide him to victory, especially leadout man Michel Mørkøv.
"Today we had that team that is dedicated to a full sprint team and then obviously with Michael at the end, you have the best opportunity of everyone," Cavendish said.
"If you take a full sprint team to race without other full sprint teams, you're going to dominate. You can also take one lead-out guy to a race that doesn't have any other sprint teams in it and you'll dominate.
"But when you have a race that has many lead-out teams, you need more than just Michael, you need a full team. And fortunately, I had that here today. We had an incredible group of guys, you know?
"[Pieter] Serry was just controlling it like he does; he knows exactly what to do. And then just a machine of a team. Cattaneo, Devenyns, Vervaeke, Cavagna in his first race back. That's a machine to control it for the final."
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