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Cavendish to skip Milan-San Remo in 2014

Stephen Farrand
December 5, 2013, 10:27,
December 5, 2013, 10:14
Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, December 5, 2013
Milan-San Remo
Mark Cavendish testing in the wind tunnel

Mark Cavendish testing in the wind tunnel

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Omega Pharma sprinter to target Tour and Giro

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.

TheStaz 11 months ago
No big surprise there. A bit surprised that he's considering going to the Giro again though, I thought maybe he'd concentrate on the Tour again now that he's got all the points jerseys.
sck451 11 months ago
He can ride it now without having to worry about the jersey. So he can relax a lot more, focus on stage wins and pull out when he feels like it.
GoatHerd 11 months ago
Yeah... I kind of think this year`s Giro was a bit too tough, with the horrendous conditions, and that might have been a reason for the below-par Tour (compared to previous seasons at least).
Aurelio Feldman 11 months ago
Until last year I understood that he would like to win the points jersey in every Grand Tour, so he would have to race the Giro to the end. But now I believe that he should focus only in the Tour. The Giro is to hard and he is not getting any younger. Besides that, evebody knows that most of top sprinters do not ride the Giro, he would be riding against a weeker field. He should make his only focus to take on Kittel, Greipel and Sagan on July.
WilGirod'Italia 11 months ago
He loves riding in Italy, so why not? He's the best sprinter of his generation, there's no need to prove any points v Greipel or Kittel or anybody else... They should actually be the ones to chase him wherever he races, to prove the point they're consistently better or better in different GT and different conditions...
denominator 11 months ago
A year ago you would be right. But next year he has only to show, if he is better than Kittel. It was far from obvious at Le Tour. With better leadout and more training Cav might be more successful, but let us wait and see.
Mark Hornsby 11 months ago
You seem to miss the point that this year was actually one of the most successful of his career - certainly a hard year, but still very successful. The onus is still on the others to prove that they can beat him wherever, whenever.
Volderke 11 months ago
Nothing wrong though with starting at the Giro to have some training, and withdrawing after 2 weeks and a victory or 3-4?
trueblue 11 months ago
Cav like to race into shape. Why have to train at home, or a camp, when there are 200 rider pelotons to play in for hours each day. Winning 20 races a year, requires showing up often.
Broth3r 11 months ago
See, this is why I thoroughly dislike pure sprinters. So they added a climb to MSR. What to do then? Give up on it, obviously. As if training to go over it was ever even an option. Just stay in the track, please.
Ser Gio 11 months ago
Ok, according to you, if the course of Liege Bastogne Liege will be changed to a dead flat, then punchers and climbers won't give up? I'm imagining Rodriguez and Nibali fighting for a victory on the flats against the sprinters, hahaha. It a matter of specialization, if you aren't familiar with cycling. When organizers added Pompeiana, the chances for sprinters became 0%. So why should they kill themselves on those climbs or take a risk of an injury(if the conditions will be like this year) without a chance of victory? Probably the best way is to set some different targets for the season.
Broth3r 11 months ago
They were reduced, but certainly not zero. I'm sure the rougher sprinters will be there. Oh, how I long for Freire.
Ser Gio 11 months ago
Please, analyze by yourself, how many times did Milan San Remo finish in a bunch sprint since 2008? Yes, only two times - when Cavendish and Freire won. So we can say that addition of Le Manie in 2008 reduced their chances (breakaways won four times out of six). But Le Manie comes with 80km to go. So imagine what impact Pompeiana will create. The race will not finish in a sprint from a bunch. From current riders with final kick only Sagan can manage this. But we cannot name him as a sprinter, he's all rounder. Yep, you may call me "captain obvious", but this is the way this things are sorted out.
Broth3r 11 months ago
It's also rather annoying that every single time I express my dislike of pure sprinters on road cycling, people interpret it as lack of knowledge. Once would be fine, but it's recurring. It's as if that's some sort of illegitimate opinion.
Farcanal 11 months ago
It is a legitimate opinion, pal. I will defend your right to express it too. It just so happens that it's wrong, that's all. Cycling is a very diverse sport. Pure sprinters and climbers both have their place to play in this. Road racing in particular is given it's diversity and interest by the widely differing terrains that organisers can include to make it the race they want. Some organisers want a climber's race which breaks up all over the shop, often to show off the landscape of the area. Others want a bunch sprint with its high speeds, an intriguing finale of jostling for position culminating with a cliff hanging resolution, thrills and spills. That is the pure sprinters game, it does not make them any less of a bike rider. A bunch sprint between a load of weedy looking climbers would be a very sorry affair. In fact, it could be argued that the pure sprinter is the only PROPER bike racer. Racing is about going the fastest, hills are only put there so that the less powerful skinny guys have anything to win at all.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Disliking pure sprinters can only come from someone who has not mixed it up with these lunatics at 40 miles and hour.
Broth3r 11 months ago
Oh, don't get me wrong, that's fun. If only there was a cycling discipline that was nothing but that...
Lance, remember Bassons? 11 months ago
The wind seems to be coming from behind?
Anonymous 11 months ago
Lance, remember Bassons? 11 months ago
Well, surely if he was "testing" in the wind tunnel, he'd be facing the turbines?
Anonymous 11 months ago
No. wind tunnels pull air over the rider so that the wind is not swirling from the fan blades
Bmo012 11 months ago
Really?? Every day's a school day.
yenrod 11 months ago
Yes, Cav doesnt like any kind of effort whatsoever!
Tony M 11 months ago
What a pointless comment !
wirral 11 months ago
Mano a mano, we will sort this on the Poggio, Cavendish, or are ye yella?
Farcanal 11 months ago
Your joking right, Wirral? I really wouldn't fancy your chances. You talk a good talk but there are very very few amateurs who could beat even a pro sprinter up a decent climb. They may look slow by comparison, but they ain't
yenrod 11 months ago
Its correct that the route changes - riders are SOO aware of the old route now that it was very boring... Cavendish a boring rider ? - he is now ! as he is just playing the old tune of 'an arm chair rider to the finish', sounds great with a break beat tecno rhythm :) - yes, it went out years back Mark.
James Alexander 11 months ago
next post in english please
PascalLap 11 months ago
I disagree with the comments here saying Cav is boring, not motivated enough, or is 'an arm chair rider'. I think in the last year alone there are examples that point to the contrary. Look at the Giro. It was cold, wet, and miserable, yet he finished. He was one of the only sprinters to hang on until the end and contested essentially all but one bunch sprints. To me this race alone shows his character and tenacity in the face of a challenge. Then there was the British national champs. For all of you saying he just rides wheels until the sprint, go find archive footage of this race. He followed attacks and pulled like a lunatic to even get the chance to sprint it out at the end. Finally, there was the world champs where he pulled for 100km on the front. Now we all know Cav's goal is to win as many TdF stages as possible. So for all those saying he should quit complaining and train for MSR instead, how on earth is he supposed to achieve TdF success if he has a fitness level specific to MSR. Do you know who will win MSR in 2014? Probably someone of the likes like Nibali or J-Rod, do you see them mixing it up in sprints? No. So if Cav were to win MSR in 2014 he would have to drop a ton of weight and be one skinny little devil - not TdF sprinting weight. Therefore that's why he's not ever racing MSR again.
mattghg 11 months ago
Thank you for bringing a dose of sanity.
Mark Hornsby 11 months ago
Well said. That said, I actually scrolled down to the comments expecting to see far more infantile comments about Cav supposedly 'whining' about the MSM changes - which of course he hasn't actually done .. he has simply stated that the new route doesn't suit him and that he will therefore not be contesting it - so I am actually quite pleasantly surprised at how rational most of the comments are.
Raoul Duke 11 months ago
I think when accomplished riders get older, they start to know what they want to accomplish before it's all done and dusted. Their goals become more focused and chosen. Look at Cancellara, he knows what he has done, what he still wants to do, and that is what he goes after regardless of what others think. I think Cavendish is starting to get to this point. He has goals he wants to focus on, and the rest is a distraction.