Giro d'Italia: Mark Cavendish aiming to take pink jersey with win on stage one

Last Updated: 04/05/13 11:21am

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Mark Cavendish has worn the Giro race leader's pink jersey twice before

Mark Cavendish has worn the Giro race leader's pink jersey twice before

Sky Bet

Mark Cavendish is aiming to ride into the Giro d'Italia race leader's pink jersey for a third time by winning the opening stage in Naples on Saturday.

The 27-year-old Briton is among the favourites to claim victory on a pan-flat first day that is almost certain to finish in a bunch sprint.

Cavendish, who previously wore the maglia rosa in 2009 and 2011, admits he has not had chance to research the final kilometres of the route, but with the stage set to end in four laps of a finishing circuit on the Naples seafront, he believes he can learn all he needs during the day.

The Omega Pharma - Quick-Step rider said: "For sure, it would be a dream to take the pink jersey in the first stage. I have won the pink Jersey twice before in my career. I would love to do it again here in Napoli. It is a special race here, the Giro d'Italia, so I would like to get it started in a good way.

"It is a nice circuit here in Naples. The more laps there are, the more of a chance I have to look at it during the race, so I'm not putting too much stress on that.

Sprint finish

"It is quite straightforward and it is going to be a sprint. Of course, there are a lot of corners and cobblestones that can make it a little more challenging, but I think it should be OK."

Another jersey Cavendish has his eye on at the Giro is the points leader's red jersey, which he narrowly missed out on winning in last year's race.

The Manxman wore it for no fewer than nine days, but lost it on the penultimate stage to Spanish climber Joaquim Rodriguez, who overhauled his points total with a series of strong finishes in the race's final week in the mountains.

"I will say that without a doubt, we can do a good job here at the Giro."
Mark Cavendish

It is the only Grand Tour points classification Cavendish is still to win, having triumphed at the Vuelta a Espana in 2010 and the Tour de France in 2011. However, he is not putting himself under pressure to set that record straight, and is instead focusing solely on adding to the 12 Giro stage wins he already has to his name.

Making a point

"My goal is to win at least a stage," Cavendish added. "Hopefully a jersey comes from that. The riders who go in to hunt for jerseys are more the attacking riders, like [Peter] Sagan. For me, I have to rely on winning stages to get jerseys.

"I'm not really feeling a lot of pressure as I have got a strong team with me. The stronger team you have, the less pressure. I know my teammates are as excited as I am about this opportunity and we are all committed to fight for stage wins whenever possible.

"There are not too many opportunities after the first stage on Saturday, maybe two or three for the sprinters, so we will see how it goes. I will say that without a doubt, we can do a good job here at the Giro."

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