HTC-Columbia hasn’t given up on Mark Cavendish winning a second Milan-Sanremo title. The sprinter has endured a painful start to the 2010 season and is without a win and only four days of racing in his legs after his winter was wrecked by dental problems.
However HTC’s Sports Director Rolf Aldag believes that time is still on Cavendish’s side after he gained essential training miles in last weeks Ruta del Sol, in Spain.
"The latest news is that he finished all but the last stage and I think that was really good considering the conditions. It was cold, raining and a lot of climbs. So there’s nothing to stress about and we’re convinced he’s on a good wave. Last year at the same time he was, shall we say, a bit more stable," Aldag said, after the finish of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, on Saturday.
With Strade Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico on Cavendish’s race programme between now and Sanremo, Aldag believes that with continued training and racing Cavendish can once again win the Italian Classic.
"These races give you a little bit of time to find the right workload and everything. There’s still a good chance he’ll do Milan-Sanremo and for him to win it. He has enough time catch up. You see other sprinters here and they’re struggling here and there. It’s not over yet."
Should Cavendish fail to find his legs before then HTC-Columbia do have one of the best plan-Bs in cycling with André Greipel able and, more importantly, willing to ride. The German has won five times already this season but unlike Cavendish has never won a Classic.
"For the moment we support the winner of last year. For the moment there is no other solution. Greipel is definitely on the long list, there’s no question about that. We'll do Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico and then we decide. He has expressed interest in the race but not leadership."