Mark Cavendish still had a big smile on his face as he sat down for the Tirreno-Adriatico press conference after his Omega Pharma-QuickStep team dominated the opening team time trial, putting him in the leader's blue jersey.
Cavendish pulled on the leader's jersey because he crossed the line first for Omega Pharma-QuickStep but he considered it a day of success for the whole team.
"I'm really happy. It's really satisfying. This is always the first WorldTour race you do in the year and you always get a feeling of the form of the team here," said Cavendish. "The team time trial is special because everything has to go right. It's not about individuals, eight people have to do everything right at the same time. That's quite a hard thing to do, so it's so, so rewarding when you get to stand on the podium together.
"We've had a really good ambience in the team in the last few days," continued Cavendish. "We've done many circuits of the course, we knew the corners, we knew what we had to do. So today we just came out and said 'Lets go and race'. Ultimately it was pretty easy because we got everything right.
"Again, Tony [Martin] did half the race alone and [Michal] Kwiatkowski did some big pulls. Then everybody else tried to do what they could for the team. There was no egos, no pride. Everyone just wants to make the team go as fast as possible. It's nice to come to Tirreno-Adriatico, take the azzurra jersey and then try for the sprints in the next few days."
A little push between friends
Television images captured the moment when Tony Martin gave Cavendish a slight push. However the race judges decided that the push was not worthy of any kind of disciplinary action.
Cavendish explained that Martin pushed him after he lost his chain due to a long-standing problem with his SRAM gears.
"The problem is when we turned left on the straight road after the descent. After a corner, you want to put the power down," he said.
"And as always happens, my chain came off. It's a problem with SRAM, which we've talked about many times. So my chain came off, my foot came out and Tony was behind me at 50km/h. He has to come up to not go over my back wheel.
"It didn’t make us go faster, it was really to stop us crashing," said Cavendish. "I don’t think anything happened, it was to stop us falling off."
Cavendish will start stage two from San Vincenzo to Cascina wearing the leader's blue jersey and is widely expected to challenge for victory again if the stage ends in a sprint finish.
He faces some serious competition from Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) and Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) but has Alessandro Petacchi and Mark Renshaw to give him a high-speed lead-out.
Cavendish admitted he is not yet at his very best and deflected expectations to win by pointing that Omega Pharma-QuickStep also want to win the overall classification at Tirreno-Adriatico.
"I'm excited to start Tirreno-Adriatico with this team," he said.
"I'm lucky to have Renshaw and Petacchi as my final men this year, they're two of the most experienced guys, the most intelligent guys when it comes to a sprint. But we've got a great team here for the whole race. We want to win the sprints, we wanted to win the team time trial, in the mountains and win the GC. We've got Kwiatkowski, who is in great form, and the team has good morale, so across the whole seven days, we'd like to be successful in every way."
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