Mark Cavendish made all the headlines with his win in Milano-Sanremo, but the 23-year-old of Columbia-Highroad isn't finished yet and has more objectives for the remaining Classics. Gregor Brown spoke with the Briton in Sint-Martens-Leerne, Belgium, about Gent-Wevelgem, Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.
Cavendish first burst onto the scene when he won the 2007 Scheldeprijs. The then 21-year-old beat Robbie McEwen and Gert Steegmans that day and he went on to the Tour de France later that year. Unfortunately he abandoned early on.
The following year was a different story. He lined up in Brest for the start of the 2008 Tour de France with two stage wins from the Giro d'Italia under his belt. He ruled the sprints over the subsequent three-week race and took four wins – the most number of stages by a single rider in that edition.
The ball hasn't stopped rolling since and this season is going better thanks to early season wins in the Tour of Qatar, Tour of California, Tirreno-Adriatico, and of course Milano-Sanremo. In that race he surprised many of the naysayers by surviving the long distance of 298 kilometres, which included several difficult climbs and he was the only one able to respond to the last-minute surge by Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo TestTeam).
Set for Gent-Wevelgem
He is ready to add another Classic victory to his palmarès, tomorrow, in Gent-Wevelgem. The 203-kilometre race will take in two ascents of the Kemmelberg prior to the finish. He headed into the race last year with two season wins, but this year an additional seven wins could give him the confidence to change last year's 17th placing into a win.
"It [season so far] gives me confidence against my competitors. Having a successful year shows I am on good form. It also gives my teammates confidence, they know that they can ride 100 per cent for me.
Read the full Cavendish interview.