Mark Cavendish has admitted he has little chance of winning Milan-San Remo after crashing during the opening team time trial at Tirreno-Adriatico but has decided to spend seven hours in the saddle on Saturday, helping his Dimension Data teammates in a gesture of sacrifice.
Cavendish won Milan-San Remo in his first attempt in 2009 and has finished in the top 10 on two other occasions. Like every sprinter in the peloton, he loves the Italian Classic and is happy just to be part of the Dimension Data team.
Also in Dimension Data’s line-up for Milan-San Remo are Edvald Boasson Hagen, Scott Thwaites and Julien Vermote, Jay Thomson, Mark Renshaw and Stephen Cummings.
Cavendish crashed at high-speed during the Tirreno-Adriatico team time trial. He fractured a rib and suffered multiple abrasions and soft tissue injuries to his knees, hips and hands, as well as some swelling on his face. He got up to finish the 10km stage but finished outside the time limit, with the rules not making any allowance for crash victims in team time trials.
After his crash Cavendish stayed in Tuscany and has trained with his teammates in the last few days.
“After crashing in Tirreno I’m obviously not in any sort of condition to win Milan-San Remo, but having been able to train enough through the pain over the last few days I feel like I can go in support of my teammates,” Cavendish said, confirming his ride.
“Milan-San Remo is a race close to my heart, and it’s a particular style of race that reminding my body of the rhythm of it this year, will help me to compete for the win in future years,” he said.
Renshaw abandoned Tirreno-Adriatico on stage 5 due to a chronic sinusitis problem. He has since seen a specialist and is in the team. Tom-Jelte Slagter was not considered for selection as he has an upper respiratory tract infection, while Bernhard Eisel is also out of action after his nasty crash at Tirreno-Adriatico during Sunday’s stage.
“It’s not been an easy selection process having both Bernie Eisel and Tom-Jelte Slagter unavailable but for now it looks like the weather could play a big part on the day and we look forward to taking opportunities that present themselves for a good result,” Dimension Data directeur sportif Roger Hammond said.
“As a team we’re really excited ahead of one of the sport’s iconic races. It’s great to have Mark (Cavendish) return to an event that’s obviously very special to him. He’s had a run of bad luck, crashing in both Abu Dhabi and Tirreno-Adriatico, but despite fracturing a rib, and weather permitting, has managed to train.”
Dimension Data for Milan-San Remo: Mark Cavendish, Mark Renshaw, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Scott Thwaites, Julien Vermote, Jay Thomson and Stephen Cummings.
Click here to subscribe to the Cyclingnews podcast.