After a morning when several high profile names pulled out pre-race, British rider Mark Cavendish became the latest withdrawal from Tirreno-Adriatico as the race's penultimate stage reached its midway point in Italy. The 26-year-old had won stage two on Thursday but decided to give himself some extra preparation time ahead of a big target this weekend.
Cavendish has made no secret of the fact that his major early season goal is Sunday's Milan-San Remo, which he won in 2009. Shortly after that win, he revealed his desire to win the race again in the rainbow jersey, and after collecting at the 2011 road world championships in Copenhagen, this weekend is his big chance to achieve that goal.
"Well that's my Tirreno-Adriatico done and dusted," he revealed on his Twitter page after pulling out. "Haven't finished today's stage, but good sensations. Now to rest up for Milan-San Remo."