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Page last updated at 17:48 GMT, Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Cavendish crashes in Italy ahead of Milan-San Remo

Mark Cavendish
Cavendish became the first Briton to win the final stage of the Tour de France last season

Isle of Man cyclist Mark Cavendish continues to struggle for form as he prepares to defend his Milan-San Remo title on Saturday.

Cavendish suffered cuts and bruises on Tuesday when he crashed in the final stage of Tirreno-Adriatico in Italy.

The crash is the latest setback in the Manx rider's preparations after dental problems caused the 24-year-old to delay the start of his 2010 season.

In 2009, the HTC-Columbia rider won the Italian classic on his first attempt.

Team Director Brian Holm said: "He surprised everyone last year and I truly believe he can do it again."

In 2009, Cavendish won the final stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico, four days before winning the 100th edition of the 298km Milan-San Remo.

His victory made him the first British rider to win the race since Tom Simpson in 1964.

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