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Mark Cavendish kept the Columbia-Highroad party rolling on Sunday, delivering the team’s third consecutive victory in the controversial stage in Milan.
Cavendish out-kicked Allan Davis (Quick Step) and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) to win for the first time in the 2009 Giro.
Here’s what Cavendish had to say after the victory:
How important was it for you to win today?
Mark Cavendish: I wanted to win three stages at this Giro. The first was when I lost to (Alessandro) Petacchi when I was in the pink jersey, the other was today and the last one is Friday (stage 13). I’m glad I got this one today, because the other day, I wanted to win in the pink jersey and Petacchi beat me.
Did the sprinters agree before the start of the race to neutralize or was there an agreement to sprint?
MC: All the other sprinters did sprint in the end. At the end of the day, there’s a race on. A lot of spectators come out. It was a beautiful and special and special stage. It was the Milan show. It was going to be a special stage. A lot of riders didn’t want to race, there were people who wanted to race. In the end, it worked out right that the time was neutralized. The people who wanted to race could and the ones who didn’t didn’t have to. I’m happy I won.
How is Columbia able to win such a diverse style of stages?
MC: It couldn’t have gone any better for us. We won the first stage, a team time trial, then on a mountaintop, Tommy (Lovkvist) got the maglia rosa back. Edvald (Boasson Hagen) won from a small break, Konstantsin (Sivtsov) won out of a long breakaway, today I won in bunch sprint. It’s the fact that the team is willing to adapt to every situation. Today was Edvald’s birthday, it’s national day in Norway. He was wearing the ciclomino jersey, and he was doing the last kilometer at front for me. It shows the special mentality on the team. I’m so proud to be part of that. That’s what makes us win so often.
So have you worked out how to beat Petacchi or was today’s course more suited for you?
MC: I don’t think I understand the question. He beat me once all year. I won in Milan-San Remo, I won in Tirreno. Today was just putting right what I messed up in the first stage.
What did you think when you first heard the stage was neutralized?
MC: There are not many opportunities for sprinters today. I think it was fair in the end for people who wanted to race, raced, for people who didn’t want to race, didn’t have to race.
Do you think that the course deserved to be neutralized?
MC: I don’t think it matters in the end what I thought. We raced at the finish. It makes no difference what I thought. I raced and I won it. I’m glad my team helped me to do that. I want to thank them.
You were in peak form in the spring and you’re building back for the Tour, so this shows that you can win when you’re not at 100 percent?
MC: I’m not at my best right now. I’m not in the shape I was at Milan-San Remo. I’m not in bad condition. I’m in better overall condition than I was in last year, better than last year’s Giro. I think my team puts me in the best situation. They’ve kept me sheltered. Even when I am not in top form, I can deliver. I do that every time, every day. I’m feeling better in the Giro, take it every day as it comes. Hopefully I can get better and better each day.