Exclusive: McEwen refuses to rule out Cavendish at Giro – 'I wouldn't bet against him'

Robbie McEwen is refusing to rule out Mark Cavendish’s chances of success at the Giro d’Italia, as the British cycling legend targets another Grand Tour victory.

The Astana Qazaqstan Team rider looks set to compete in all three Grand Tours this season – the Giro, Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana – and McEwan is refusing to rule him out for glory.

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“Everyone’s going keep an eye on Cavendish, of course,” he told Eurosport.

Giro d’Italia

Exclusive: ‘Pure sprinter’ Cavendish could win more stages at Giro and Tour – Contador


“They’re waiting for his first win of the season. He was quite good at the Scheldeprijs a few weeks ago, where he finished on the podium.

“I think he can ride it certainly. Whether he can win is the million dollar question. I don’t know. But one thing I know for certain, is I wouldn’t make a bet against him.”

The 12-stage Giro winner believes not having a team throughout the winter would have hampered Cavendish’s preparations, but feels the lack of sprinters could work in his favour.

“I don’t think he’s been rope a dope, I think he’s just been slowly building because I think with not having a team through the winter – that throws a massive spanner in the works,” he explained.

“You’re ducking and weaving, trying to get organised, it really does affect your training and mindset. I wasn’t surprised that he wasn’t able to come out swinging in the first couple of months, but then he showed some decent form in Scheldeprijs.

“Off the back of that, I would expect him to be at a decent level to be competitive on the flat stages. As I said before, it’s not a stacked field of sprinters at the Giro so I won’t be shocked if he wins a stage.”

Mark Cavendish

Image credit: Getty Images

Philippe Gilbert, who won three individual stages at the Giro, says Cavendish’s impressive stamina and resilience will count for a lot and is tipping the Manxman to improve as the race goes on.

“He’s a rider who needs to race. I think if he doesn’t get sick or crash in the first few days, he will become better and better. He’s the kind of rider who needs a lot of kilometres in the legs to become better,” Gilbert explained.

“I think the first day is going to be important for him. Because if he’s at a good level, he is going to be fighting for maybe a win – it’s possible with Mark, you never know.

“Cavendish always surprised me in the stage races because he always becomes always stronger and stronger with the days as they go on.

“Mark is someone who needs competition is completely, kilometres in the legs, and the best way for him is to race, because I don’t think he’s really in love with training.

“I think when you put him in a competition, you have to race, you have to do the kilometres and he becomes always stronger and stronger with the days.

“I think the best for him is just to do this Giro, try to do to go as far as possible and become skinnier and stronger and get the confidence with his new team with new team-mates.”

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05/04/2023 AT 16:01


Philipsen wins Scheldeprijs as Cavendish finishes in third

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