Mark Cavendish to race Three Days of West Flanders
Mark Cavendish wins, Tour of Qatar 2013, stage three
Mark Cavendish will spearhead Omega Pharma-QuickStep's assault on the Three Days of West Flanders - Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen - from Friday, March 1, to Sunday, March 3.
Cavendish missed out on defending his 2012 win in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne on Sunday as the race was cancelled due to snowfall.
The Manxman has enjoyed asuccessful start to the 2013 season - his first with Omega Pharma-QuickStep. He kicked off this year's tally of wins with a stage of the Tour de San Luis in Argentina, and then went on to win four stages of the Tour of Qatar on his way to winning the race overall.
The Three Days of West Flanders commences with a short, seven-kilometre prologue before two further road stages, both of which feature the punchy climbs for which the area is well known. Julien Vermote of Omega Pharma won the event in 2012.
"The race will be perfect for Mark to prepare in the best way for Tirreno-Adriatico," said Omega Pharma-QuickStep sports director Tom Steels in a team statement on Tuesday.
"We will count on a very strong group of riders for this race, including Niki Terpstra - who is in good condition - and Gert Steegmans, who will start working on setting up the sprint and his leadout with Mark.
"Our objectives are to try and win a stage and repeat the good GC results of 2012. We have the potential to do that."
In terms of professional victories, Cavendish is Britain's most successful cyclist in history. His number of win sits at 95 since turning professional in 2007 and the chance of him reaching 100 before mid-season now seems highly likely.
Cavendish will ride Tirreno-Adriatico prior to Milan-San Remo on March 17, although he has said the one-day monument is not an objective for this season. Ultimately, Cavendish will contest for the green jersey in the Tour de France in July.
Mark Cavendish: 2013 wins so far
Tour de San Luis; stage one
Tour of Qatar; stage three
Tour of Qatar; stage four
Tour of Qatar; stage five
Tour of Qatar; stage six
Tour of Qatar; overall
Tour of Qatar; points classification