Mark Renshaw made the switch from lead-out man at HTC-Highroad to lead sprinter at Rabobank during the off-season and the Australian will be looking to open his account with his new team when he lines up at Dwars Door Vlaanderen on Wednesday.
The 200km race from Roeselare to Waregem marks the beginning of the countdown to the Tour of Flanders, and a well-balanced route offers classics contenders and sprinters alike the opportunity to contend for victory.
“I’m sure we’ll have a couple of protected riders, and we’ll have two different scenarios either for the sprint or the breakaway,” Renshaw told Cyclingnews in Sint-Martens-Latem near Gent on Tuesday. “A couple of the guys are going well, and if it comes back together I’ll be there for the sprint.”
With the likes of Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Barracuda), Oscar Freire (Katusha) and Matt Goss (GreenEdge) all on hand, Renshaw will have no shortage of competition in the event of a sprint, but he expects his old sparring partner Mark Cavendish (Sky) to be the man to beat. “I know Cavendish is here. I spoke with him after San Remo and it will be hard if he finds better legs after San Remo.”
After Milan-San Remo failed to result in a bunch sprint on Saturday, hearts in the sprinting fraternity will have sunk still further at the news that the organisers are considering making the race more selective in 2012. One of the possible alterations is understood to be a deviation onto a steeper road towards the top of the Cipressa, while the finish line may also be brought forward from the Lungomare Italo Calvino to a point closer to the Poggio.
“I think as a fan of cycling I’d be disappointed to see it change,” Renshaw said. “If they do change it, I’d like to see it change back to the Via Roma, I think that was one of the best finishes for San Remo and if they make it any shorter then I think they’re going to wreck the race. There’s a good saying: ‘If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.’ So I’d leave it as it is.”