Mark Cavendish arrived back at the Dimension Data team bus after his teammates, following the opening 22km team time trial stage at Tirreno-Adriatico. Despite the African team finishing 15th, more than a minute slower that eventual winner’s BMC, the Manxman made an effort to congratulate each of his teammates on their performance.
He had not seen some of his them since the pre-season training camp but seemed happy to be back in his white Dimension Data jersey, after the emotions and effort of riding on the track at the recent World Championships. On Sunday, he celebrated winning a world title in the Madison with Bradley Wiggins, but he is already focused on his spring road racing campaign.
“It’s just back to the day job really,” Cavendish said with blunt pragmatism. “I have a team to work for here, a great set of sponsors with Dimension Data and Deloitte. I’ve got to get back to the job of representing them. I’m super happy to be back. It’s going good with the group of guys here.
“It was no problem (returning to road racing); I’ve been training on the road. It was only 22km. We’ll see how the next days go.
“I actually didn’t feel comfortable at all. We were going pretty fast. I’m happy with that; the team rode well as a unit. Considering that the first time I saw my TT bike was yesterday, we haven’t had any training in the TTT, it’s all right. We’ll see how the rest of the race goes.”
Stage two, to Pomerance, includes a late climb that is expected to split the peloton and distance the sprinters. Stage three, to Montalto di Castro, is far more likely to finish in a sprint, but Cavendish suggested that the sprinters will have to fight for any chance of success during this year’s Tirreno-Adriatico.
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