Within 48 hours of Mark Cavendish’s comments that Garmin boss Jonathan Vaughters had been “disrespectful” to focus so squarely on the team time trial which kicked off the Giro on Saturday, peace and smiles had been restored to both camps on Sunday – as well as the healthy sense of rivalry which provided the context for the Manxman’s comments.
Already, on Saturday, as he watched the last hour of the team time trial in a media tent next to the finish-line, Cavendish had been keen to nuance his remarks of the previous day.
“What I said was really directed at Jonathan Vaughters and not the Garmin riders,” Cavendish said. “They’re a great bunch of guys and riders: Christian [Vande Velde], Dave Millar, Zabriskie, Brad and the rest of them. As soon as the comments were published online, Dave and I exchanged messages and had a laugh about it. I meant what I said but it was directed at Jonathan and what he had said about the Garmin season starting on Saturday.”
At around the same time, after Saturday’s time trial, in which Columbia triumphed by six seconds over their American counterparts, Cavendish’s team-mate Marco Pinotti was making light of the controversy.
“There’s great respect and even friendship between the two sets of riders, us and Garmin,” Pinotti said. “We even had a joke about it. We take the mickey out of them and them of us. There’s no ill-feeling – quite the opposite.”
Pinotti, incidentally, also explained why Cavendish had screamed at him after the pair crossed the line on Saturday. “I was in third position coming into the final bend, with Mark on my wheel and I wanted to pass the two in front but I didn’t want to risk too much. Mark’s used to taking more risks than me…” the Italian time trial champion said.
Pinotti then added with a broad grin, “his scream at the end was just due to the tension of the race.”
Garmin rider Millar was similarly phlegmatic on Sunday when asked about Cavendish’s jibes at Vaughters.
“We all know what Cav’s like,” Millar said with a good-natured roll of the eyes. “He’s volatile. He can be saying something and he totally means it at the time, but when he’s thought about, twenty-four hours later, he can mean something completely different.”
Garmin leader Christian Vande Velde’s echoed Millar. “I’ll basically put it down to the fact that he’s so young,” Vande Velde smiled. “I still haven’t spoken to Mark about it, but I will…”…