Team Columbia-Highroad Aims for Victory in 2009 Milan-San Remo
Team Columbia-Highroad tackles the 2009 Milano-San Remo this weekend with high hopes for Mark Cavendish, the recent winner of the last stage of Tirreno-Adriatico. However, the squad has no intention of placing their top sprinter under any pressure to come up with a specific result.
“We’re very aware that it will be Mark’s first participation in Milan-San Remo,” commented sports director Valerio Piva. “If he’s there in the front group after the [final climb of] Poggio, then of course the team will back him up 100 percent for the sprint. But if he’s not up there, it’s not the end of the world. This is his first San Remo and his main objective to get the experience of racing it.
“We’ve got guys like Thomas [Lovkvist], George Hincapie and Maxine [Monfort] taking part too, all of whom are going well and who could make it into a break.
“Milan - San Remo is always one of the most unpredictable races of the season,” he added, “you have to be prepared for all sorts of outcomes as we saw last year, a bunch sprint is only one of them.”
“Someone said to me that San Remo is the easiest race to finish but the hardest one to win,” added Columbia-Highroad rider Mark Renshaw. “I’ve ridden it three times and it’s so long that the last two climbs, which aren’t so difficult, become much more of a challenge. The wind direction has a major effect, as well. If it’s a tailwind then it’s just 45 minutes longer than a normal race, but if it’s a strong headwind it can last up to seven and a half hours.
“The finish is more complicated than it used to be, we checked it out today [Wednesday] as part of a training ride. There’s a couple of extra corners which make it more difficult. Then the new climb they brought in last year [Le Manie] makes a tough race even harder. I’m feeling good after Paris-Nice, I got second in one stage [two], and my condition is good. My main mission will be to go with Mark [Cavendish] and support him as best I can.”
Columbia-Highroad for Milan-San Remo: Michael Barry (Can); Edvald Boasson-Hagen (Nor); Mark Cavendish (GB); Bernhard Eisel (Aut); George Hincapie (USA); Thomas Lovkvist (Swe); Maxine Monfort (Bel); Mark Renshaw (Aus).