Mark Cavendish to focus on Giro?

Mark Cavendish to focus on Giro says his teammate Fabio Jakobsen: “Mark knows that the Tour is my goal and that he will ride the Giro himself”

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Mark Cavendish to focus on Giro?

Mark Cavendish is to focus on the 2022 Giro says his teammate Fabio Jakobsen: The rider who has recovered from one of the most horrific crashes in the sports history at the Tour of Poland, Fabio Jakobsen, says his goal for the season is the 2022 Tour de France. The 25-year-old sprinter feels if all goes well, he will make his Tour de France debut next summer.

Fabio says he’s in good nick. “In October, I took a month’s vacation, in November I resumed training. The first training camp took place in December and this is the second. I broke my personal best in a fifteen minute test. That was a surprise to me too, but that gives me a lot of morale and confirmation. Also not unimportant: I am once again a ‘normal’ rider in the group. No more adjusted schedule like last year.

When Fabio is asked what a 15 minute test is, he replies, “Fifteen minutes all out on a climb. To ride as fast as you can. That means I’m at least physically no less than I was two years ago. Not that I sprint faster with that, because that’s an effort of ten, twenty seconds (the sprint), but that I’m better than before the crash which is encouraging.”

Fabio Jakobsen gained five kilograms this winter but its no problem for the sprinter: “That’s right yes. I think you can do that. I was way below eighty kilograms for the Vuelta. For a sprinter, this is not necessary in the winter. You can gain some weight and then build up again and train it off. I’m already half way through. And the weight for the Vuelta is also different from the one you want to start your spring campaign with. I’m right on schedule.”

Talking about his race programme, he says “I’ll start with the Tour of Valencia and the Algarve. Then Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, Paris-Nice and then the one-day races that could possibly end in a sprint, with the exception of Milan-San Remo. After the Scheldeprijs, a break follows and the build-up to the summer begins, in which the Tour de France is the big goal.

Asked how ambitious he is for the Spring classics, he replies “I was fourth in Kuurne once. I would love to see me win that race. Gent-Wevelgem, Dwars door Vlaanderen, De Panne, De Scheldeprijs, these are very nice races that can end in a sprint. That won’t always be the case, but if it is, I’d love to be there. Later, maybe Milan-San Remo, but that is not yet on the schedule this year.”

“With Julian Alaphilippe, the team has a different plan there.”

Asked how sure he his Tour de France selection, he says “Those are the lines that have now been plotted. I feel good about that and I want to try that. Of course you have to be good enough for that, but in the team the people who understand it, think it’s possible.”

When its put to Fabio, his taking Cav’s place, a rider who won four stages in 2021 (and the Green jersey) and holds the record for the number of stage wins with Eddy Merckx, puts a lot of pressure on him, he says “That’s true. But in the Vuelta, I also showed that I am making steps forwards. I think the Vuelta a España was exciting. I was nervous. I would have already won in the Tour de Wallonia and that’s how I gained confidence. I thought I could sprint for a win in the Vuelta.”

“But to finish, win three stages and take the Points jersey… But to come back to your question: no, I’m really looking forward to it. The Tour is the highest achievement in our sport for a sprinter, apart from the World Championships and Milan-San Remo which is a Monument. I am very motivated.”

Does he feel guilty taking Cav’s spot? “Yes. Though guilty isn’t the right word. Because I think I deserve it too. And if I’m not good enough, I don’t go. But you have to make a schedule and I will ride there in the spring and the Tour. Mark knows that the Tour is my goal and that he will ride the Giro himself. But he is ready as a reserve. He can do that like no other. And I think he’s happy with that role.”

“Lefevere was also quick to offer a contract extension to me last year, when I had not yet won a race. And now after the Vuelta, he immediately told me that I can do the Tour this year. That motivates! But look, I started at the bottom of the ladder hierarchy in the team and gradually climbed up. I have already experienced the pressure of a Grand Tour twice and the Vuelta has now been the stepping stone. Now I can try it at the highest level.”

And speaking of Quick-Step team principal Patrick Lefevere, he was more cautious on Mark riding the Tour saying “I don’t know if Mark will ride this year’s Tour. I’m not Madame Soleil – I don’t have the crystal ball.” Fingers crossed for Cav as the season unfolds…


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