Manx Missile on target for Milan-San Remo?
GC contenders play the long game. A loss-limiting ride can be one in which pride is taken. Victory can wait for another day. Not so with the sprinter, who must seize every opportunity to win as if it is his last. This is the code by which British champion, Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) is governed. It is one under which he thrives.
Disappointed on stage two after winning the opening stage team time trial with a squad that included world time trial champion, Tony Martin, the Manx Missile was forced to wait until stage six and the reappearance of flat roads for another, legitimate shot at victory. Duly taken, courtesy of Titanic shifts from the who’s who of WorldTour talent collectively known as OPQS (Martin, Kwiatkowski, Renshaw, Petacchi et al), thoughts turned to the Manx Missile’s continuing presence in the race. With Milan-San Remo just days away, and La Primavera again a target for the sprinters, would Cavendish stay to contest the time trial?
It speaks volumes for his respect for tradition that Cavendish does not abandon races without compelling reason. For the last two years he has defied a body of opinion that would have had him bid farewell to the Giro d’Italia before the closing stage to begin recuperation for the Tour. The British champion stayed the course at Tirreno, if only to finish 141st in the closing time trial, losing 1.25 to winner Malori over 9.1km.
With the OPQS train improving and Cavendish still formidable in the final 300 metres, 2014 is looking good for the British champion and his team-mates. A second victory at La Primavera still looks like a big ask, but following the removal of Le Manie and the Pompieana, Cavendish will relish the task.