Mark Cavendish is sick of talking to the media about Lance Armstrong. Today that’s not a requirement.
Down in Argentina and far from Oprah, the Manx Missile launched his 2013 campaign with a fast and skillful sprint into Villa Mercedes. He beat Sacha Modolo (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox) and old man Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Merida) to the line and took the first leaders’ jersey. No more “carrying the can” for Lance.
A crash in the last 500 metros presented an extra challenge to Cavendish. But as he has shown in recent years, he doesn’t need a perfect lead-out and knifing through traffic is just one of his many talents. No Renshaw, no Bernie Eisel, it’s doesn’t matter whatsoever.
Sylvain Chavanel put in a full days’ work and one last pull for Cavendish. When his Omega Pharma train faded, he simply jumped on the Lampre-Merida express and then kicked into his sprint with 200 meters to champagne and Latin kisses.
Everybody is fresh at the start of the season in San Luis but on day one, the big boys didn’t need to start killing themselves. Instead they gave an eight minute lead to Gabriel N. Juarez (Argentina), Martin Hacecky (ASC Dukla Praha), Magno Nazaret (Funvic Brasilinvest), Juan A. Lucero (San Luis Somos Todos), Walter F. Perez (Buenos Aires Provincia), Flavio De Luna (Mexico) and Guido Palma (Jamis-Hagens Berman).
However Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Cannondale, Androni Giocattoli and Lampre-Merida pegged that break back to four minutes by the time they hit Viejo Almacen with 55 kilometers remaining. Cavendish just bidding his time and having an empanada to two with a sports drink chaser.
Man-child Peter Sagan (Cannondale) was even doing lead-out work for Lucas Sebastian Haedo — that was until the chaos and crash happened. The Tour de San Luis ain’t the Tour de France but Cavendish isn’t complaining. No need to talk about Armstrong, either.
|1||Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step|
|2||Sacha Modolo (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox|
|3||Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Merida|
|4||Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica GreenEdge|
|5||Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling|
|6||Rafael Andriato (Bra) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia|
|7||Francesco Lasca (Ita) Caja Rural|
|8||Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team|