Great Britain sprinter Mark Cavendish will lead the Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team at the 2013 Giro d’Italia where victory in the points classification would complete his Grand Tour collection.
Cavendish, 27, won green jerseys at the 2010 Vuelta a España and 2011 Tour de France but was edged out of the red jersey when riding for Team Sky in last year’s Giro by Spain’s Joaquim Rodríguez.
The 2011 road world champion will be supported by Italians Gianluca Brambilla and Matteo Trentin, Belgians Iljo Keisse, Serge Pauwels, Gert Steegmans and Julien Vermot, Poland’s Michal Golas and France’s Jérome Pineau.
"We start with a very good team built around Mark Cavendish," Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Sport director Davide Bramati said.
Mark Cavendish Grand Tour overview
Stage wins - 36
Tour de France - Points Classification winner, 2011
Vuelta a España - Points Classification winner, 2010
"The presence of a pure sprinter such as Mark will change our approach to the race if we compare it with our last participations. In any stage where we have a possibility, we have to try to do our best to go for the win.
“I think an immediate important moment will be the first stage in Napoli. Everyone wants to fight for the first pink jersey. The competition is fierce, but we can count on a good group. We believe in our team and we will be there to try to fight and win."
“Beside Mark, we go into the race with experienced guys such as Golas and Pineau who have experience going for the stage victories at the Giro,” Bramati said.
“We also count on young Julien Vermote in his second participation in the Giro. Then we have Steegmans, Keisse, and Trentin ready to show themselves in the sprint train of Mark.”
Only four riders have previously achieved wins in the points classifications of all three Grand Tours - Djamolidine Abdoujaparov, Laurent Jalabert, Eddy Merckx and Alessandro Petacchi.
Cavendish could also wear the maglia rosa with Saturday’s opening 156-kilometre flat stage - starting and ending in Naples - likely to conclude in a bunch sprint. The Manxman became the first British rider to wear the famous pink jersey in 2009 after Team Columbia-High Road took the stage one team time trial.