The Manxster looks to win again in Amgen Tour — this time without relegation
Coming off a fiery debut in the Tour of Qatar where he took two stages, Columbia-Highroad’s fastman Mark Cavendish says he’s ready for more action at the Amgen Tour of California.
“California is a massively important race for our team, and we’ve got a really strong line-up for the general classification,” Cavendish said. “I’ve looked at the route and it’s a very tough course, a lot tougher than last year. On paper, there’s only one stage that seems certain to end in a bunch sprint, so I will be targeting that one for sure.”
In the days ahead of the race, Cavendish is attending a team training camp in Solvang along with the seven other Columbia-Highroad riders due to participate in the Amgen Tour. Including in the line-up is American veteran George Hincapie, winner of a stage in the 2008 Tour of California, three-time world time trial champion Michael Rogers and Tour de France yellow jersey holder Kim Kirchen. Australian Mark Renshaw, Adam Hansen, Thomas Lövkvist and Michael Barry round out the team’s California roster.
In 2008, Cavendish mixed it up the sprints but ultimately ended up empty-handed. On stage 2 Cavendish lead out for his teammate Gerald Ciolek, but Quick Step’s Tom Boonen got the win. At the next opportunity for a sprint finish, on stage 6, Cavendish was the first man across the line, but was ultimately relegated for holding onto a team car for mechanical adjustments following a crash.
As racers are wont to do, Cavendish shook off the trouble and continued his winning ways throughout the year, including four stage wins of the Tour de France. Now, he’s ready for more action stateside.
“I like racing in America, the crowds and atmosphere are great,” he said. “I saw that last year both in California and in the Tour of Missouri. It’s definitely something special.”