By Shane Stokes in Palermo
Still just 21 years of age, Mark Cavendish has had an excellent run of success thus far and will chase his first Grand Tour stage victory in the Giro d'Italia. The High Road sprinter lines out in the Italian race on Saturday with that goal in mind; however, as far as completing the race goes, he and his team will decide during the race.
"I'm going in with the aim of getting through it, but we will sit down mid-way and see how it is going and determine if I will finish," he told Cyclingnews. "Obviously if it is really hard and I kill myself doing the Giro, there is no point in doing the Tour. So we will analyse things halfway through and see what will happen.
"In terms of sprint finishes, they are few and far between. Realistically, I have got four chances in the whole Giro, and one is on the 17th stage. So if I get to that, I will be happy."
Cavendish has beaten the fastest sprinters in cycling and, most recently, also won the prologue time trial in the Tour of Romandie. He's relatively confident about his chances. "I'm certainly looking to do the first three stages and now that Petacchi is not riding, my chances of winning a stage are even greater, I think. For sure on paper I am the fastest guy there. However, as we saw at the Tour last year, the Grand Tours are a little bit different to everyday racing. We will just have to see how things go."
In terms of his season highlights, a good run of success on the road give him satisfaction. "It was nice to win Scheldeprijs again, that was good," he said. "Obviously to take a win in the world Championships is massive, but to take two stages of De Panne and then Scheldeprijs a couple of weeks after the worlds was important.
"I didn't have any specific road preparation done for them. I had been preparing on the track, and then to come back and take those made things quite special, I think."