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Cavendish criticizes teammates after losing Tirreno sprint

Mark Cavendish vented his disappointment immediately after losing the sprint at Tirreno-Adriatico and did not hold back in the post-race press conference, revealing he would be having 'words' with his Omega Pharma-Quick Step teammates when he returned to the hotel.

Cavendish expects the very best of himself and as a consequence of his teammates, too. He finished fifth behind Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) in the chaotic-rain-soaked sprint in Indicatore and kept the race leader's blue jersey but it was of little consolation after his teammates failed to look after him in the final kilometres of the stage.

"Before the last corner (at 1000 metres to go) we were about 30 places back. I'm not going to say what went wrong but I know the guys are better than this. We've got our best team here and we should be unbeatable," Cavendish said.

"We planned for the sprint, we wanted a sprint and we controlled the race from the beginning but it got quite chaotic in final laps because of the rain. We stayed together as a team but we weren't in a good position for the last kilometre."

"I'm quite disappointed today with my leadout. I know they're so much better than that. I had to do a lot work in last kilometre. I was 30 riders back and had to come round. I was coming and coming and still thought I as in with a chance with 500 metres to go. I was moving up but then the peloton moved to the right and I had to slam on my brakes with 200 to go. That was the end of the chance of winning. I feel we could have got more out of today. We've got to have words tonight."

He added: "I'll talk about my feelings… We'll see what happens."

Cavendish refuted the idea that he perhaps now takes fewer risks in sprints that he once did.

"I don't take less risk than I used too. It's just different circumstances," he said.

"I've always known where to go in sprints. It's just that there are a lot more sprinters' team up there, it's more chaotic. In the past there were more gaps. Now there are more sprinters up there."

Cavendish praised Matt Goss on his victory and tried to be optimistic about his chances of victory on stage three to Narni Scalo on Friday. The 190km stage includes a gradual climb with 30km to go and then a short kick-up with four kilometres to go.

"It'll be difficult tomorrow. Today was flat and so definitely a sprint finish," he said.

"It's nice to keep the jersey and the (best young rider) white jersey too. We'll look after them and try and stay together tomorrow…"

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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.