Mark Cavendish is improving in the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race, but it is likely too late for him to reach form to win Milan-San Remo (March 20), according HTC-Columbia’s Sports Director Valerio Piva.
“It is not possible to change in two or three days,” Piva told Cycling Weekly. “Only God makes miracles, not Cavendish.”
Cavendish suffered a setback prior to the start of the season when teeth problems forced him to miss training. He returned to racing in Spain and is racing Tirreno-Adriatico this week in preparation for Milan-San Remo. With San Remo only seven days away, though, a repeat win for Cavendish looks impossible.
“He knows he is not in good shape. He knows he is not able to win again,” continued Piva.
“I understand he won last year, he will have the number 1, he is young… I respect this, but we have to keep our feet on the ground. He may have thought ‘I am not bad’ in Ruta del Sol, but here it is another level.”
Piva warned that the season is long and that Cavendish is riding better now than only one week ago. Cavendish remained with in the main bunch through the moutain stage today, finishing 31 minutes back, but with rival Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions).
“He is going better. I passed him on the steep climb today and he was okay. His condition is not the same as last year because he lacks racing days, but we will see at the end of Tirreno if his condition is back.
“We have other guys to try something in Milan-San Remo, but if Mark is there and stays with the group then maybe he will have a chance.”
Following San Remo, Cavendish is due to race the Vuelta a Catalunya, skip Ghent-Wevelgem and, possibly, start the Tour of Flanders for the first time.