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Cavendish to start 2013 campaign at Tour de San Luis

15:14 1st January 2013 by Road Cycling UK
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Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) will begin his 2013 campaign at the Tour de San Luis.

The 2011 world road race champion has ridden publicly for the first time in the colours of his new Belgian team.

He will join his new teammates, Classics king, Tom Boonen, and world time trial champion, Tony Martin, among them, at a training camp in Spain on Sunday.

Mark Cavendish, Omega Pharma-QuickStep - bike

Cavendish said: “It’s going to be an important training camp, during which we’re going to be doing a lot of work to prepare for the start of the season.

“I will make my official debut with this jersey at Tour de San Luis in Argentina.”

OPQS will have happy memories of the week-long, UCI 2.1 category race: a seven-stage event that begins on Monday January 21.

The 2012 edition was won by Levi Leipheimer, later sacked by OPQS, with sprinter, Francesco Chicchi, claiming the opening two stages, and Boonen taking the last.

Cavendish took part in a team building camp in Slovakia in December, and said he had found himself at ease with his new teammates.

He said he was likely to arrive in Spain in advance of Sunday’s training camp to make an early start on preparations.

2012 saw Cavendish win 15 races, including three stages each of the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France, as well as taking overall victory in the Stoer-ZLM stage race.

Mark Cavendish, Omega Pharma-QuickStep - back

But the Manxman was understood to be disappointed by his campaign, which saw him unexpectedly dropped on the climb of La Manie at Milan-San Remo, a key early-season target, and miss out on Olympic glory after a valiant effort by Team GB to control the men’s road race and set up a sprint for Cavendish on The Mall.

He announced his desire to leave Team Sky as early as September, in the build up to the Tour of Britain, another race in which he claimed three stage victories, and briefly wore the gold jersey of race leader.

OPQS, owned by Czech billionaire, Zdenek Bakala, swiftly established itself as favourite to win Cavendish’s signature.

He will be reunited with several staff and riders from the now defunct HTC-Highroad squad with whom he won the Tour de France green jersey in 2011, including director sportif, Brian Holm, and Martin.

“I want to do well and give back to this fantastic group that has placed so much faith in me,” Cavendish said.

A bid for a second Tour de France green jersey, made in this year in the 100th anniversary of the race, is likely to be at the top of the Manxman’s priorities for 2013.

Cavendish’s astonishing sprint to win the eighteenth stage of the 2012 Tour de France, was voted ‘Moment of the Year’ by RCUK readers.

Riding in the rainbow stripes of world road race champion, Cavendish sprinted past the remnants of a day-long breakaway on his way to the line.

To see all the results of the RCUK End of Year Survey, click here.

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