Team Sky's strategic mastermind talks to road.cc on the startline of Milan-San Remo...

Team Sky race coach Rod Ellingworth, the man who oversaw the three year plan that resulted in Mark Cavendish winning the World Championship last September, said that the riders were "100% up for it," shortly before the 2012 edition of the Milan-San Remo got underway this morning.

That's certainly the impression anyone standing next to the British ProTeams' bus, parked outside the Castello Sforzesco, would have got as the Kaiser Chiefs' 'I Predict a Riot' blared out; if anyone fancies a scrap during today's 298km race, Team Sky seem happy to give them one as Cavendish aims to fulfil his dream of winning La Classicissima di Primavera in the rainbow jersey.

Both he and Bernie Eisel seemed in great spirits ahead of the start, relaxed and smiling, and Ellingworth said: "They're in good nick; they're all feeling good. We've had a few ups and downs coming into the race, with a couple of injuries and people being sick.

"We've been a bit unlucky these last two weeks as a team - Juan Antonio Flecha with a broken bone, Michael Barry too, Christian Knees and Mick Rogers are sick, but fortunately we've got the strength in depth and we've got people like Puccio, the young lad who is super excited. As we are , here this morning. They're well up for it."

As the race heads into its closing kilometres later this afternoon, expectations are that Liquigas will go on the attack, most likely on the Poggio, with Vincenzo Nibali leading the charge, but Ellingworth insists Team Sky will ride to their own race plan.

"We've talked about that, he and Sagan are possibly among the best descenders in the world, so you've got to let them do what they're going to do, and we can only do what we can do, so like Cav said there's no point worrying about who's attacking.

"He knows he's going to be pulling himself to pieces from bottom to top of every climb. That's all he can do. If people go a long, long way ahead of him, the race will be over. He'll just do his best. I think that's all we want to concentrate on, so if Nibali attacks, we'll try and get him back."

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.