Mark Cavendish will be at a disadvantage at the 2012 Giro d'Italia and probably won't ride the race to the end, said Alberto Contador. The Sky rider's focus on the Tour de France and 2012 London Olympics may cost him when he goes into sprints against riders who are focusing solely on the Giro, the Spaniard said.
“There are always newcomers in sprints,” Contador told Eurosport. “I don't know if it's matter of being young and they have more courage when approaching in the sprints.”
“It's true that when Mark Cavendish has such a powerful and dedicated team at his disposal and when he's in top conditions, it's really hard to beat him. But you have to consider that in the Giro d'Italia there are the best sprinters in the world, at the maximum of their motivation and a sprint win on the Giro d'Italia is of maximum importance.
“If Mark is thinking on the Tour and on the Olympics afterwards, as it's the case, I think he will not finish the Giro.”
Contador won the 2011 Giro but lost the title when his results since July 2010 were disqualified and he was suspended on doping charges, but he retains his affection for the Italian race.
“For me Giro d'Italia is something really special,” he said. “I got to know it in 2008 when I came in at very short notice and I didn't have the most adapted preparation for it, yet Italy welcomed me in an unbelievable way, to the point that I had the impression I was racing in Spain.”
He added, “For sure it has a magic attraction that other races don't have, the crowd and the fans are real experts in cycling and it's lived by the people in a very special way.”
“For me, the Giro d'Italia is the nicest race of them all.”