World champion Mark Cavendish is confident he is capable of emulating his famous Milan-San Remo win in the Italian one-day classic tomorrow.
Cavendish illustrated a new dimension of his supreme talent with victory in the fabled 298-kilometre race in 2009. Previously he had enjoyed the majority of his success in sprint-friendly stages of the Tour de France, but the tough run-in to the finish in San Remo was thought by many pundits to be beyond him.
However, he not only overcame the climb of the Poggio, which has seen the end of many sprinters' hopes of a win in the event, he also determindly chased down the last-gasp break by German-Australian Heinrich Haussler, which had the rest of the peloton wrong-footed.
And in those few moments of determined chasing and triumphant catching of Hausler, Cavendish's already soaring reputation took off to new heights. Since then he has continued on towards greatness, with 20 Tour de France stage victories and victory in the World Championships road race last September.
Since that World Championship victory in Copenhagen, the 26-year-old Team Sky rider has stated his desire to begin the Olympic season with victory in Milan-San Remo, wearing the world champion's rainbow jersey. And the Manxman believes he can triumph once more tomorrow.
"The last two years it was about getting rid of me, my form wasn't there," Cavendish said on www.cyclingweekly.co.uk. This year I have great form, the team is strong, the spirit is good, we're strong enough to deal with anything. People can throw what they want at us. I have myself for the sprint, Edvald (Boasson Hagen) for the attacks. We've got it covered."
Cavendish has already recorded four wins in his debut season with Team Sky, run by British Cycling performance director Dave Brailsford.
The team's major goal is the Tour in July, with Bradley Wiggins riding for the overall victory and Cavendish out to defend the points classification green jersey he won last summer. Then Cavendish will ride in the Olympic road race on July 28.
Cavendish is thriving at Team Sky, where he works alongside his academy coach Rod Ellingworth. He added: "The fact that it's a British team makes it special, big British company, a lot of British riders, guys I grew up with - this is why I wanted to be here. I've always worked with Rod since I was 17, and couldn't work with him like I wanted to the past couple of years. They care about me, which is a lot better, something I missed the last couple of years."