Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) could celebrate his 100th career victory at the Giro d'Italia on Thursday but his sprint rivals are looking to gatecrash his party and win the expected high-speed sprint in the centre of Treviso.
Mattia Gavazzi (Androni Giocattoli) showed his speed by taking fifth on stage six in Margherita di Savoia despite being boxed in during the final five hundred metres. He almost got into a fight with Robert Hunter (Garmin-Sharp) and Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) after fighting his way out and swerving across the road but his aggression highlighted his hunger to win.
Gavazzi is enjoying a second chance in his career after overcoming problems with cocaine. He tested positive for the drug in 2004 and again in 2010. He returned to racing with the Androni Giocattoli team this year, winning a stage in his first race, the Tour de San Luis in Argentina.
He is racing with a smile on his face at the Giro d'Italia despite suffering on the climbs and would love to win in Treviso.
"It's our turn after suffering in the mountains for a few days. It's one of the few chances to win a sprint that are left in his year's Giro," Gavazzi told Cyclingnews.
"I'm feeling good, a lot better than last week when I got the placing in Margherita di Savoia. Margherita di Savoia. I'll try and spoil Cav's party. I'll try and get on his wheel and then try to beat him."
"He'll be up for it, he will be the favourite and the one everyone else will use to judge their sprint. He's got an incredible leadout and so can produce incredible sprints. We'll see what happens."
Gavazzi finished 188th on the stage to Vajont, near the back of the big gruppetto that eased back on the climb and finished 13:35 behind stage winner Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp).
"We tried to suffer as less as possible today, so that we're as fresh as possible tomorrow. The only problem could be the weather, they've forecast a lot of rain. The finish is difficult too, it's on a circuit in the centre of Treviso. We'll see what happens…."
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