First, it was a toothache bothering Mark Cavendish; now it’s the pain in the neck. That pain courtesy of the other top sprinter in the HTC-Columbia squad, Andre Greipel.
After being left off the Milan San Remo roster, Greipel vented big time, saying it was a “real blow” and suggested he had a better chance of winning the Italian classic than the post-dental work Cavendish who was clearly still building form.
It took a while for the anesthetic to wear off, but when it did Cavendish wasted no time firing back. “I was pretty pissed with Greipel’s comments after San Remo. If he thought he could win, he’d say it before the race rather than when he’s looking at the results sheet. It wasn’t through lack of form that I didn’t win San Remo – it was bad luck. Last year I won it picking my nose. This year it was possible I’d win again. There’s no chance of Greipel winning a ‘Monument’. Me on bad form is still better than him,” said Cavendish.
We’re guessing old school team manager Rolf Aldag doesn’t mind the squabbles too much. He probably likes the extra pressure to win and prove themselves the top dog that the two sprinters are dumping on each other.
Now Greipel has to deliver the goods in the Giro or suffer the consequences that the Manxman was right — he’d never win a really big race. A few messed up sprints in Italy and Cavendish will tell every journalist within shouting range that the German doesn’t have the legs or the balls.
However a few big wins in Italy will solidify the German’s case that he belongs in Rotterdam on July 3rd for Le Grand Depart of the Tour de France. Greipel just amped up his training and you do not want to make his quads angry.
Meanwhile, Cavendish will have to clean up in the Tour of California or Greipel is taking over the keys to the HTC train. For Cavendish, the Cali assignment is an easier one than the Giro but gives him absolutely no margin for error.
You know who is digging the discord? Tyler Farrar of Garmin, that’s who. The target of several Cavendish barbs last season and caught in the Columbia and Garmin feud, Farrar must be enjoying the Greipel show-down. Farrar is too nice a guy to add fuel to this fire but he’ll certainly warm his hands and watch the sparks fly.
It’s just more betting action in the world of cycling. What are the odds that Armstrong makes it on the podium in the tour and what are the odds the big German punches out Cavendish at the next team summer barbecue?
Andre the Giant is a big pain in the neck for Mark Cavendish. The medical prognosis isn’t good.