Mark Cavendish remains on Italian soil this week, making his debut appearance on Wednesday in cycling’s oldest race, Milano-Torino.
After a week riding in support of Remco Evenpoel at Tirreno-Adriatico, Cavendish will be Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl's main hope in the 103rd edition of a race that looks set to favour the sprinters. The 199-kilometers from Magenta to Rivoli are largely flat and will see Cavendish pitted against the likes of Peter Sagan, Greg Van Avermaet and Diego Ullisi, who won the race back in 2013.
“Mark Cavendish will be our card for this Wednesday and he will count on a strong squad to protect and help him fight for a good result,” said Davide Bramati, sports director for Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl.
The Belgian team’s seven-man roster for the race created in 1876 includes current French national champion Rémi Cavagna. It’s the 26-year-old rider’s first appearance in 2022 after a training camp crash in December delayed his season.
“We are very happy that Rémi is back,” said Bramati. “It will be for the first time that he pins on a number this year and having him again with us it’s a big morale-boost”
Elsewhere, Cavendish will be supported by the balanced line-up of Mattia Cattaneo, Dries Devenyns, Pieter Serry, Louis Vervaeke and vitally, given the race profile, lead-out expert Michael Mørkøv. Cavendish has already won twice in 2022 at the Tour of Oman and the UAE Tour and will be looking to add the Italian Classic to his career total of 158 victories.
Switching to its original March slot for the first time in 15 years, Milano-Torino has typically been a race for the climbers with recent winners including Primož Roglič, Michael Woods, Thibaut Pinot, Rigoberto Urán and, back in 2012, Alberto Contador. Arnaud Démare’s win in 2020 is the last time a sprinter has triumphed.
The calendar change means Milano-Torino will run just three days ahead of the season’s first Monument, Milan-San Remo.
‘La Classicissima di Primavera’ was the site of one of Cavendish’s greatest victories in 2009 when he pipped Heinrich Haussler at the line while racing in the colours of Team Columbia-HTC.
Quick-Step’s last success in the race was in 2019 with Julian Alaphilippe. He’ll start Saturday’s 113th edition of the race alongside pre-race favourites Tadej Pogačar and Wout van Aert as well as last year's winner Jasper Stuyven.
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