Mark Cavendish Storms to Win in Giro d'Italia 2009
Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia-Highroad) easily outpowered his rivals on Wednesday’s stage to Arenzano for his second stage win in four days in the 2009 Giro d’Italia. Already first across the line in Milan last Sunday, Cavendish’s victory at the end of the 214-kilometer stage takes the Columbia-Highroad rider’s tally of wins this season to ten. It’s also Columbia-Highroad’s fifth stage victory of the Giro d’Italia in just 11 days of racing, continuing the American team’s superb run of success in cycling’s second biggest stage race.
“I seem to be in better form than I thought I was,” Cavendish commented. “I was already happy with one victory [in Milan] but two wins are better than one. I was a bit worried that I would suffer on the Turchino [climb, 20 kilometres from the finish] and thought it was going to take the sting out of my legs. But to be honest I seemed to be floating up there. It’s unbelievable how deep you can go when you can smell the finish. Then the descent went well, and the team placed me a perfect position.”
Reflecting on the superior teamwork displayed by the Columbia-Highroad squad, he added, “I’m lucky that I’ve got the best guys in the world to do that for me, I can really trust Mark [Renshaw], and Edvald Boasson Hagen was there before that to help guide me, too. I didn’t want a repeat of the first stage [won by rival Alessandro Petacchi] so I hit out early on.”
Part of today’s stage went over part of the route used regularly in the Milan-San Remo Classic, won by Cavendish this spring. The British rider said the Giro stage had allowed him to remember his great victory in Italy’s biggest one-day race. “Even on the run-up to the Turchino, going through the town of Ovada, it all brought back nice, happy memories. Going through the tunnel at the top of the climb was quite special, too, because that’s where Milan-San Remo really started.”
“We know that Mark Cavendish is the fastest sprinter in the world and the team is proving that they’re also the best in the world at helping him win,” commented team manager Rolf Aldag. “I was in the second team car today and as we went past the last group, none of our guys were there. It was the same in the second group and the third group. That really shows that everybody gives everything to help Mark win. It was the same [when Cavendish won] in Milan. Even overall contenders like Mick Rogers and Thomas Lovkvist rode for Mark that day and contributed to the team’s success.”
Looking ahead, Cavendish says he will be going for a third stage victory on Friday, which finishes near the town of Quarrata, where he is based for much of the season. “There’s going to be a lot of people that I know coming over, and I’d love to win in front of them all.”