Mark Cavendish returns to the Giro d’Italia after a nine-year absence at the head of a QuickStep-AlphaVinyl team designed to help him up in the sprints finishes.
The Manxman has won fifteen stages in his five Giro d'Italia appearances and he also won the points classification on his last outing in 2013.
Michael Mørkøv, who guided Cavendish to four stage wins at last year’s Tour de France, will be on lead-out duty in Italy. The Dane has spent much of this season teamed with Fabio Jakobsen, who is slated to ride the 2022 Tour as QuickStep’s lead sprinter. He reportedly told the Danish podcast Forhjulslir that he will ride 13 stage of the Giro d'Italia.
A year ago, QuickStep’s Giro line-up was built around Remco Evenepoel, but the Liège-Bastogne-Liège is not set to make the second Grand Tour appearance of his career until the Vuelta a España in August.
Cavendish has scored three victories so far in 2022, winning Milano-Torino and stages at the Tour of Oman and the UAE Tour. His only race in the last month came at the Circuit de la Sarthe, where he placed in the bunch sprint on the penultimate stage.
Davide Ballerini provides an alternative sprint option for QuickStep at the Giro, while James Knox, Mauro Schmid, Pieter Serry, Bert Van Lerberghe and Mauri Vansevenant also feature in the line-up.
The promising Vansevenant scored his first professional win on Italian roads last year at the GP Industria & Artigianato di Larciano, while Schmid was a stage winner in last year’s Giro at Montalcino. Knox, who placed 14th overall in the 2020 Giro, ought to have freedom in the mountains.
“We go to the Giro d’Italia with a lot of motivation. We have a good team at the start, with Mark as our man for the flat. He has won a lot of stages at the Giro, and he can rely on many strong riders to support and guide him in the hectic bunch sprints,” directeur sportif Davide Bramati said in a statement released by the team.
“For the other stages, we’ll just take it one day at a time, fight for every opportunity and see what we can do. We know that it won’t be an easy three weeks, it never is, but we will try to do our best, because it’s in our nature.”
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Barry Ryan is Head of Features at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation, published by Gill Books.