Columbia's Mark Cavendish after his Milan-Sanremo win, with coach Erik Zabel, himself a four-time winner.
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Team time trial also targetted
Columbia-Highroad hopes to claim a stage victory at this year's Giro d'Italia with Mark Cavendish, although anything beyond that will be a bonus according to team manager Rolf Aldag. Cavendish is in top form having completed a successful Spring Classics campaign that included victory at Milan-Sanremo.
"If we come away from the Giro d'Italia with at least one stage win and some time in the overall lead, I'll be happy," said Aldag. "But we really want to make a big impact in the first week, so that we can head into the second part of the Giro without feeling too much pressure.
"We've got our eye on the team time trial in Venice, particularly after winning the same event in the Tour of Romandie, and then in the first couple of flat stages, we'll be going 100 percent all out with Mark [Cavendish] as well," he added.
Kanstantsin Sivtsov will be Columbia-Highroad's main contender fot the general classification. Sivtsov finished 17th at last year's Giro.
"At the same time, we'll be looking to see what Michael [Rogers] can do," added Aldag. "I spoke to him just after Liege-Bastogne-Liege, he's in good shape and he's fully recovered from the fever that prevented him racing in Fleche and Liege.
"I know he's been checking out some of the tougher stages and time trial stages in the Giro by himself, and I know he's enthusiastic about this race," said Aldag.
Norway's Edvald Boasson Hagen will also make his Grand Tour debut at this year's Giro. The Gent-Wevelgem winner will celebrate his 22nd birthday mid-way through the Giro.
"Edvald's under no pressure at all, although it would be great if he could finish," said Aldag. "As one of our younger riders, we want him to get as much experience racing as possible, in all sorts of situations. That's important for his future, and for the team's future, too."
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