Cipollini tips Cavendish as likely Sanremo winner

Mark Cavendish (Columbia)

Mark Cavendish (Columbia) (Image credit: Jon Devich)

Sprint legend Mario Cipollini believes Briton Mark Cavendish is moving closer to winning one of the most prized races, Milano Sanremo. The Italian thinks the winner of four stages in the 2008 Tour de France needs a bit more experience to capture the Spring Classic.

"Cavendish is the most explosive. But this is not the only thing that matters throughout a race. For example, in Sanremo you need to also have other characteristics like resistance, tactics, staying power on the climbs...," said Cipollini to La Gazzetta dello Sport last week.

Cavendish turned professional after he gained racing experience on the track. His breakthrough season came in 2007, but last year he went even better with two stage wins in the Giro d'Italia and four in France.

Cipollini, winner of the 2002 Milano-Sanremo, rates his compatriot Daniele Bennati as the current favourite for Sanremo. The race is one of the longest in modern day cycling at nearly 300 kilometres.

"Bennati, who arrives fresher in the sprint, is a more complete rider and gives a greater guarantee for the result. But Cavendish is young and has raced very little on the road. What he has done at the Giro and then the Tour is very impressive."

Cipollini, 41, made a brief return to racing last spring and competed against Cavendish in the Tour of California. This year he will be off the bike but just as involved in the sport thanks to his technical consultant role with Italian team ISD. (GB)

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