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Mark Cavendish has told La Gazzetta dello Sport that he will not ride Milan-San Remo in 2014, or ever again during his career, if the route of La Classicissima in includes the newly inserted Pompeiana climb close to the finish.
"Milan-San Remo? I won't take part. And if the route stays the same, perhaps I'll never ride it again. My success in 2009 is destined to be unique," Cavendish is reported as saying in Gazzetta dello Sport while attending a presentation of Specialized's Racing technology at the McLaren Formula One headquarters along with Alberto Contador, Vincenzo Nibali and Zdenek Stybar.
Cavendish won Milan-San Remo in 2009 at the very first attempt but the inclusion of the new five-kilometre climb between the Cipressa and the Poggio, only 20km from the finish, has dramatically changed Milan-San Remo.
The first major one-day race of the season was known as the Sprinter's Classic. In 2014 it will be more suited to the Grand Tour climbers and Ardennes Classics riders such as Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Philippe Gilbert (BMC). Both have made Milan-San Remo their first goal of the new season, while Cavendish has been forced to change his big goal for the spring.
Cavendish's biggest goal of the 2014 season will be the Tour de France in July. The first stage ends in Harrogate, close to his mother's home. The stage suits the sprinters and so Cavendish has an excellent chance of winning the stage and then wearing the first yellow jersey of the Tour de France on British roads.
Cavendish won five stages and the points jersey at the 2013 Giro d'Italia and also hinted he will be chasing further success in Italy in 2014.
"The Tour starts in Leeds, close to where I live. I can perhaps win six or seven stages. But I'd also like to ride the Giro d'Italia where there are just as many chances for the sprinters," he told Gazzetta dello Sport.