Isle of Man sprinter Mark Cavendish is the leading name in the Omega Pharma Quick-Step team for this year’s Giro d’Italia, which starts in Naples on Saturday. Cavendish, 27, will not however be able to count on the support of the Italian sprint veteran Alessandro Petacchi, who had been linked with a move to the team by local media. Petacchi had said after leaving the Lampre team last week that he needed a break from the sport but later admitted that he could be tempted by the prospect of teaming up with another leading sprinter, such as Cavendish.
Cavendish, who has won eight stages on the Giro since 2008, will also be deprived of the support of the team’s other star names, including Belgium’s Tom Boonen, Germany’s time-trial specialist Tony Martin and Sylvain Chavanel of France.
“The presence of a pure sprinter such as Mark will change our approach to the race if we compare it with our last participations,” said Omega Pharma sporting director Davide Bramati. “I think an immediate important moment will be the first stage in Naples. Everyone wants to fight for the first (leader’s) Pink Jersey.”
“Besides Mark, we go into the race with experienced guys such as (Michal) Golas and (Jerome) Pineau who have experience going for the stage victories at the Giro,” Bramati added.