At his first media day for Team Sky in London on Wednesday, world champion Mark Cavendish revealed that he is in top condition ahead of the new campaign and that his main early-season goal is fulfil his ambition of winning Milan San-Remo in the rainbow jersey. Cavendish won the race in 2009 and immediately stated his ambition to win the race again in the future as world champion. He now feels that he is ideally placed to make good on his promise.
"My main early season goal is to win Milan-San Remo again," he said. "When I won it in 2009 I said that I wanted to win it again in the rainbow jersey. So that's what I'm aiming for. I feel I'm in the perfect position to do it. There are eight people in a team for Milan San-Remo. This year, including me, six of the proposed team are the same as when I won it three years ago."
With a year of huge challenges ahead, including the prospect of racing for gold at the Olympic Games immediately after attempting to defend his green jersey at the Tour de France, Cavendish said that he's in tremendous physical condition for this time of year.
"I've got the same skin folds now as I usually have in May," he said. "So I'm in great shape. I've always been strong in December but weight has sometimes been a problem and it's been hard at times to get it off, but this year has been different. I want to be strong for the whole year and I need to know exactly where I am in May and June. I don't want to be chasing fitness and conditioning in July."
Cavendish also provided some insight into his regime in Essex, east of London, where he has been spending an increasing amount of time. He now has a house there with his pregnant girlfriend, and he pointed out that it provides a different training environment to his native Isle of Man. Cavendish has been training there alongside new Team Sky colleague Alex Dowsett.
"Training in Essex has been really good," he said. "It's very flat and there's no hills. I think the biggest hill in Essex is a 3 minute and 8 seconds climb for me and Alex. But it's great for riding. There's loads of little lanes, the weather is normally good and there's hardly any wind. It's great for someone like me who likes the Classics. Alex is a super lad. He's really reliable and you know he'll be there every day, which is really important."