Cavendish has the facets for an assault on classic Milan-San Remo

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Mark Cavendish may have triumphed in 2009’s edition of the Milan-San Remo, but picking up a victory six years on will hold more importance to the rider from the Isle of Man.

Since 2007 the race has deviated from its ‘Classic’ finish, with a 1km detour causing the contest to finish on Italo Calvino.

But now the final metres will see the riders hurtling down Via Roma, the road the legendary Eddy Merckx picked up his seven wins in the prestigious event.

“All the greatest wins have been on the Via Roma. This finish is the San Remo I dreamt of when I was a kid”, the Manx Missile recently said.

At 6/1 for the 2015 renewal Cav isn’t the favourite for the race, that honour goes to Peter Sagan.

But as the youngest man to take the race in its history, he certainly knows what it takes to triumph.

Obviously, all will hinge on whether the 29-year-old is able to deliver his trademark final burst in the closing stages.

And in homage to one of Britain’s greatest ever sprinters we’re looking back at three of his best ever finishes.

Tour de France 2012 – Stage 18

This victory gave Cavendish his 22nd triumph on Le Tour, equalling the record set by André Darrigade (one he’s since broken), and left some of his fellow cyclists shaking their head in disbelief.

The front pair of Luis León Sánchez and Nicolas Roche looked to have it between them as they pulled clear, but they hadn’t banked on the Missile flying past.

San Remo 2009

His victory in the race at the age of 20 came by the slimmest of margins, as he battled Heinrich Haussler all the way in the final 200m.

The Brit stalked the Australian all the way, pulling out at the last possible second to get his front wheel across the line first.

The questionable quality of the video below is made up for by the commentary in the final stages (2:00 onwards)…

World Championship 2011

Turning the final bend in Copenhagen, Cavendish looked to have a impossible task on his hands, well back in a tightly-packed field, he would need plenty of luck.

But as the final sprint developed, a gap appeared, and that was all the invitation he needed to launch himself with frightening velocity to crown himself as World Champ.

We’ve seen how devastating he can be, let’s just hope it’s his speed that makes the headlines in San Remo.

That is, rather than an unfortunate incident like the one recently when a snapped chain on the Manx man’s bike caused a major pile-up…

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.