Mark Cavendish and his HTC-Columbia team-mates are in San Remo, Italy, today to reconnoitre the final kilometres of the Milan-San Remo one-day classic.

“We are leaving immediately to go to San Remo,” said Sports Director Valerio Piva to Cycling Weekly yesterday. “Tomorrow, we will ride the final kilometres of the race.”

Yesterday, HTC-Columbia’s Michael Rogers finished third at Strade Bianche in Siena, Italy, after making the attack to form the winning group. Cavendish, who delayed his season start because of tooth problems, pulled out but rode 180 kilometres.

“On one of the steep climbs he had a problem, he touched another rider’s wheel and had to put his foot down,” continued Piva. “Once he started again, it was not possible to ride with the best.”

Cavendish finished 24th last year and went on to win Milan-San Remo 14 days later. To prepare for a repeat, he is with Rogers, Bernhard Eisel and other HTC team-mates along the Ligurian coast.

“I am looking forward to it,” said Cavendish of the reconnaissance.

The 298-kilometre race ends with a westward run along the coast, covering I Tre Capi (Mele, Cervo and Berta), the Cipressa and the Poggio. The Poggio leaves 6.2 kilometres to race to San Remo.

Cavendish will make his final preparations by racing the Tirreno-Adriatico, March 10 to 16, starting Wednesday.

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