Welcome return to Denmark for Cavendish

Welcome return to Denmark for Cavendish

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Great Britain's Mark Cavendish is determined to add to his winning tally in the Giro d'Italia which gets under way this weekend in Denmark, the scene of his World Road Race Championship triumph last September.

He will be proudly sporting the rainbow jersey he won in such dramatic style in Copenhagen as he looks to build on a career tally of seven wins at the Giro.

And speaking on the eve of his first Grand Tour for Team Sky, he said: "It's always an honour to wear this jersey, most of the great champions in cycling have won it.

"It doesn’t matter whether you put it on to go training or whether you are wearing it in a Grand Tour, it’s always special."

Returning to Denmark provides an added inspiration too: "I was really happy when I heard the Giro was starting here - it’s great to be back where I won the World Championships. I love this country - this is the first time I've been in this part of it but it's a really nice place."

Teamwork

The race starts in the west of the country with an 8.7 kilometres time trial around Herning, followed by two road stages which both look to offer opportunities for the sprinters.

But when asked about his own expectations, the world champion was keen to underline the strength in depth of the entire squad, saying: "There are a lot more than the two sprint stages there were last year. There are six possible sprint stages in this Giro so hopefully we’ll try and win what we can out of that and we’ve also got the team time trial for which we’ve got a strong line-up.

     
 

"There are six possible sprint stages in this Giro so hopefully we’ll try and win what we can out of that and we’ve also got the team time trial for which we’ve got a strong line-up."

Mark Cavendish

 
   

"We’ve got some guys who can win other stages too so we’re coming here with a team built around winners. Hopefully it won’t just be me winning stages and we’ll have a lot of different names by the end of the Giro."

Cavendish has picked up four wins so far in 2012 - Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne plus stage successes at the Tour of Qatar (two) and Tirreno-Adriatico - but was the comsummate team player last week as he played his part in Bradley Wiggins' overall victory at the Tour de Romandie. That allowed him to get racing miles into his legs after a break following the Classics, which coincided with the birth of his first child, Delilah Grace.

But any of his rivals hoping fatherhood might take the edge off the world's fastest sprinter should think again as he said: "I normally take a break after the Classics anyway so that worked out well and then I did Romandie, which went fine.

"And while it’s easy to go away and miss home, this is my job so while I'm away so I may as well race harder and faster and make sure every day I’m away racing really counts.

"I don’t think there’s any danger of me slowing down!"

Bouncing back

Team Sky's preparations for the season's opening Grand Tour took a knock when sprinter Ben Swift was ruled out after sustaining a fractured right shoulder whilst on a training ride 48 hours before the start.

But Cavendish stressed they've dealt with that blow and are now relishing the action getting under way, adding: "We’ve got Jeremy Hunt coming in; Jez is an experienced sprinter/lead-out guy. He probably hasn’t got the speed that Swifty would have had coming off the track but his experience will be important.

"We’ve got a great team and we’ll look to win regardless. It’s obviously a shame that Swifty’s not here but that’s bike racing."

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