Exclusive: Cavendish to ride Milan-San Remo

Omega Pharma-Quick Step squad to include British sprinter after the loss of the Pompeiana climb

Omega Pharma-QuickStep manager Patrick Lefevere has confirmed to Cyclingnews that Mark Cavendish will ride Milan-San Remo later this month.

The British rider, who won the event in 2009, had said he would not start the race after organisers thwarted the sprinters’ chances of success by including the five-kilometre long Pompeiana climb in the finale of the Italian one day Classic.

However the Pompeiana was removed from the route last week due to concerns over safety and land slides. And with mid-race Le Manie climb already shelved, the race route returns to a flatter, more traditional profile, with only the Poggio and Cipressa featuring in the critical final section before San Remo. It wasn’t clear if Cavendish would compete in the race having struggled to match his 2009 result. However Lefevere has told Cyclingnews that the former world champion will be part of the Omega Pharma-QuickStep squad that lines up in Milan on Sunday March 23.

“He’ll ride as our sprinter but we’ll decide the tactics the day before the race, and not two weeks away,” Lefevere told Cyclingnews.

With Tom Boonen in flying form after winning Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne at the weekend, Cavendish's presence in the team could mean Lefevere could have at least two cards to play. Cavendish recently opened his account with a stage win at the Tour of Algarve and is set to prepare for Milan-San Remo by riding Tirreno-Adriatico.

“Tom is in excellent shape and we’re really happy with Mark winning too. We hope he’ll do well at Tirreno and we’ll take Mark to the race and he certainly won’t be there as a domestique for the others.”

Asked if he thought Cavendish could win Milan-San Remo, Lefevere said: “I think so. I thought he was able to win in Dubai but unfortunately he had some bad luck. He won in Algarve and I’m sure he’ll be coming out of Tirreno with good shape he can win San Remo as well.”


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