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Cycling greats still back Cav for Milan-Sanremo

Despite a poor start to the season for Mark Cavendish, both Erik Zabel and Mario Cipollini are not too worried about his chances for a repeat win in Milano-Sanremo.

Cav has struggled so far, not helped by the persistent dental problems which delayed the start of his season and have continued to cause him discomfort.

With the disruption to his scheduled build-up for the first big classic race of the season this Saturday, many have serious questions about the Manxman's current form.

The sprint star has been dropped in every stage in Tirreno-Adriatico so far. "We thought that he would be in better shape, from what we could see in the Strade Bianche race," Zabel told hln.be.

"I am surprised that he can't follow the peloton, but that's bike racing.

"We don't take it so hard, because we think Mark still has a chance to win Milano-Sanremo."

The German is a four-time winner of the Italian classic, and he now coaches Cavendish.

Cipollini used his column in La Gazzetta dello Sport to give his opinion about the Manx Missile.

"At this very moment, he is showing signs of weakness, due to his lack of training.

"He needs Tirreno, to get into the rhythm, but he is also very young and can get into great form in no time.

"Somebody with this much talent you can never write off."

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