Mark Cavendish’s debut in the Tour of Flanders in two weeks’ time, he insisted, will be strictly for practice. Though he won Milan-San Remo last year in his first outing, he plans to leave the Belgian classic to his bulkier rivals.

“I just want to get experience at Flanders for the future,” Cavendish told Cycling Weekly. “I know I said that about San Remo last year, but, seriously, it is about experience.”

Cavendish became only the fourth rider in history to win San Remo in his debut. Ahead of the race, he had insisted he would participate only to gain experience, which sounds familiar to what he is saying ahead of Flanders, April 4.

“There was some misunderstanding over the winter that I want to contend for Flanders. That’s a dream, not a realistic thing. It is more to see if I can race for it in the next years. If I do it this year, and it is way out of my league, then I won’t try [to win it in the future].”

The HTC-Columbia sprinter, in fact, delayed his start to this year’s season and missed 2000-kilometres in training due to teeth problems. With zero wins coming into Saturday’s San Remo, he has ruled himself out for a repeat win.

“I am going to Catalonia straight after San Remo.”

At the Tour of Catalonia, March 22 to 28, he will have a chance to reach top form and possibly take his first win of the season. A win in Spain would leave him in good stead for Flanders, even if it “is about experience.”

Related links



Milan-San Remo 2010: The Big Preview



Spring Classics 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index



Milan-San Remo: Boasson Hagen’s race?



Hammond and Hunt in Cervelo’s San Remo squad



Cavendish improving but San Remo win unlikely says Piva



Sky positions Boasson Hagen for San Remo win



Boonen talks Milan-San Remo and Cavendish



Cavendish and HTC team recon San Remo finish


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  • Bex H

    Is Cav still supposed to be riding Flanders? He isn’t appearing on the start list on the RVV website.

  • Hadyn Bosher @ 77in Thailand

    Is Cav bluffing? I don’t recall him talking before about riding for experience, only to win!!.,also not doing enough training due to dental problems is a bit far-feched, how long has he been saying this? HADYN BOSHER @77InTHAILAND.