Mark Cavendish spent a long time with the press on Sunday evening’s warm sunshine in Marbella after stage two of the 2010 Vuelta a Espana discussing what had been a tough day that ended in a rare bunch sprint defeat.
The result had echoes of the 2009 Tour of Italy, when Cavendish was the first leader of the race after HTC-Columbia the team time trial, but then lost the first bunch sprint the following day to Alessandro Petacchi.
The weather, and terrain though, could not have been more different between the two races – with temperatures in Spain soaring to the high thirties, and the riders having to tackle a four and a half hour trek through the mountains of Malaga, not like the flat run to Trieste in stage two of the Tour of Italy 2009.
“I suffered a lot during the stage and only felt good after we reached the coast when the weather cooled down a lot,” Cavendish said afterwards.
“I was feeling really ill before, but the weather was incredibly hard, especially coming from Great Britain where it’s not usually this hot.”
“I had goosepimples all over my body and I was throwing up in the first half with the heat.”
“It’s the same for everybody, but it was hardest for the [HTC-Columbia] guys riding on the front.”
“They’re incredibly strong and committed and I’m lucky to have them.”
“It hurts me a lot when I can’t get the win after they rode so strong all day.”
“But even after the guys crashed [like Martin Velits] they came back and we didn’t get any support, they still gave it 100 percent.”
“At the end of the day, I just wasn’t fast enough. Hutarovich deserved the win, he did an incredible sprint, so I can’t be disappointed. At the end of the day there was somebody better than me.”
Monday is highly unlikely to end in a sprint, and Tuesday is also an uphill finish, but Wednesday could see another mass dash for the line.
“We’ll do our best. We’ve got riders for the other stages here, not just me, and they’ll have a chance now, but I’ll be back for Wednesday.”
Cavendish can be encouraged by what happened in the Giro 2009, too. After losing that sprint to Petacchi, Cav then took three stage wins in six days – and for now he remains in the overall lead of the Tour of Spain, too.
Vuelta a Espana 2010: Related links
Stage two: Hutarovich beats Cavendish to Vuelta stage win
Vuelta stage one: Cavendish leads after HTC-Columbia win team time trial
The British riders to have led one of the grand tours
Vuelta a Espana 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index