'I can't win Milan-San Remo this weekend,' Cavendish admits

Dental problems have left reigning champ out of form

by Tom Henry   March 19, 2010  

Mark Cavendish wins - pic courtesy Photosport International

Mark Cavendish has admitted he's highly unlikely to repeat his Milan-San Remo win of 2009 this year, after being dogged by on-going health problems.

The Manx rider will take his place in the race tomorrow (Saturday) but he knows he isn't in the same condition as he was 12 months ago.

Dental problems forced him to delay the start of his season, and last month he pulled out of the final stage of the Tour of Andalucia, citing the same tooth pain.

"I can't suffer like I used to," Cavendish told the Independent. "It's just on that red line of suffering for six kilometres up the Cipressa. That's that, I can't do it, I haven't got the form."

Twelve months ago, Cavendish had recorded six wins before surprising many to win the Classic race on his debut in an astonishing finish which saw him pip Heinrich Haussler on the line by the narrowest of margins.

This season, the Briton – winner of 10 Tour de France stages in two seasons – hasn't yet had a win and he believes the 188-mile race will be beyond him.

"San Remo is not about climbing, it is about resilience," added Cavendish, who crashed in the final stage of Tirreno-Adriatico in Italy this week before crossing the line.

"You don't have to be a climber to win San Remo, you have to be resilient. It's about suffering. And you can't suffer without training. I can't suffer, that's the thing.

"I was stronger last year because I did a lot more training. I did not do as much training this January. I missed 2,000km, that's a lot."