The 23-year old from the Isle of Man, Mark Cavendish, did it again on Saturday evening. He managed the last two tricky corners behind his leadout and bombed it the line to take his third win at the Tour of Missouri. The ‘fastest man in racing’ in 2008 had 15 road wins to his credit, prior to Missouri, including 4 stage wins at the Tour de France and three stage wins at the Giro d’Italia.
A tired Cavendish answered the media’s question following his win.
Let’s start out with the leadout. It seems that Mike Barry did a hard pull and then George Hincapie came to the front and gave you a beautiful leadout. Take us through the last kilometer and then the positioning around those two tricky corners.
Mark: You know we studied that last kilometer this morning, or the last 3 k, we knew that there was a corner with a k[ilometer] to go, a left corner then we knew there was a right corner with 700 to go but it didn’t look so , in the book, the corner didn’t look so sharp as it was when we come around it. With the left-hander we were in a great position, then the right-hander, there were some guys coming, skidding towards us, I thought maybe, when I got around the last corner I thought I was doing well just to stay upright really, and then George went ‘BAM’ and when George goes, there is no one who can challenge to go and then there was a headwind and maybe I told him to go too early, and then Health Net tried to go on the right, so I had to jump on them and start my sprint with 200 to go and do what I normally do.
Do you feel a little bit invincible when you have guys like George leading you out?
Mark: Absolutely, I say it all the time and I continue to say it, if I haven’t a team then normally I have a good chance of winning but when I’ve got like the team I have behind me, I’ve got no chance of losing, so I’m really, really fortunate to have such strong guys working so selflessly for me, they do it every time and I’m glad I can repay them with a win every time.
Do you know of the American sprinters like Brad Huff and Ivan Dominguez. Do you know of their speed?
Mark: I haven’t raced against them. Obviously I read about them and I know about them, I’ve never raced with them. To be honest, I’m not scared of anybody, where they’re from and where they race.
Let me ask you about the final two turns again, you would think that it would favor someone like yourself with the bike handling skills you have from the track. Was that an advantage at all today?
Mark: Absolutely, when you’ve got guys with their back wheel lock up both sides of you, you’ve got have just not the handling skills but the balls to keep it up and I was scared for a minute but when you’re following George, I just got to look at George’s wheel and I know that he’s going to get around the corner safe, so if I can follow his wheel then I’m bound to get around the corner safe with him.
Mark, can you talk about your team plan to attack Garmin-Chipotle and evaluate how those plans worked today.
Mark: We didn’t really have any plans to attack Garmin on this stage, it was just about getting into the breaks so we didn’t have to ride and then settle for a bunch sprint then the winds picked up a hell of a lot towards the end, and we thought why not give it a go, it ended up just the four of us riding and you can’t sustain that especially when the yellow jersey just sat there behind you. So we gave that up and just went back to the original plan to bring in back to a bunch sprint.
Who were the four?
Mark: Obviously George, George even went on his own today, Mick Rodgers, Michael Barry and me.
Can you give us an idea on how tired you are at this portion of the season.
Mark: Obviously, it’s been a long season, I started to feel a bit tired today with the headwind, the heavy roads, it was really hard. I’m ready for a vacation now. Still haven’t decided whether I ride the World Championship or not, I’ll decide after my flight home from here, and then we’ll see.