That Mark Cavendish is presently one of the best cyclists in the world at sprinting to a stage victory is pretty much undeniable. Yesterday in Sacramento he proved it again, edging J.J. Haedo to win Stage 1 of the 2010 Tour of California.
So how does Cav train to cover a couple hundred meters faster than anyone else? Several months back VeloNews found out. In the article "Mark Cavendish's Secret to Sprint Training", the HTC-Columbia rider told Ben Delaney, "I just do a sprint, one or two sprints at the end of every ride. I do them over-distance. In a Tour de France stage you're looking at between 150 and 250 meters. But I always do 300 meters."
He went on to outline his routine: "I get to the bottom of a slight downhill, just rolling. I'm not pedaling much, just rolling at about 40k an hour. Then I hit it, boom! I hit it, and I go 70k an hour and I try to hold that for 300 meters. I always die. And it's about dying and just trying to sustain that to 300 meters. If you can do over-distance then you can sustain 250 meters no problem. That's all it is, really."
Cavendish has always been one to credit his teammates for delivering him to the right position, and this time is no exception: "I trust them, you know? I race with such an experienced group of guys."
No doubt we'll see more of the HTC-Columbia leadout train over the next week. And there's nothing like a big-time bike race in your home country to get me to finish my commute home with a hard kick to the parking lot line.