By Kev Newton
Froome, last year’s Tour de France runner-up, is targeting the general classification as part of his preparation to lead Team Sky in France this July.
Cavendish, meanwhile, should have at least two opportunities to target stage victory for his Omega Pharma-Quick-Step team over the seven-stage race.
Tirreno-Adriatico, a coast-to-coast race across central Italy, will this year boast a star-studded line-up and provide a stiff test for both British riders.
Former Tour de France winners Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Cadel Evans (BMC) both feature, as does reigning champion Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and last year’s number one ranked rider, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha).
Contador and Rodriguez both got the better of Froome in last year’s Vuelta, albeit coming soon after Froome’s heroics in France and the London Olympic Games.
Evans and Nibali, conversely, were two riders made to suffer by Froome as he guided Bradley Wiggins to victory in the mountains.
Froome will be supported by a fellow Brit in the shape of Team Sky’s Olympic gold medallist and Team Pursuit World Champion, Peter Kennaugh.
As for Cavendish, the former World Champion will have to hold off challenges from an elite sprinting line-up featuring Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp), Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) and John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano).
The formidable German is rarely beaten to a sprint finish when Cavendish is not in the field, and has already claimed victory in three stages of the Tour Down Under and one stage of the Tour Méditerranéen this year.
It promises to be an intriguing race which begins with a Team Time-Trial and culminates with a 9.2km Individual Time-Trial on Tuesday 12th March.
Live coverage can be found on British Eurosport daily.
Picture Credit: Michellecound Via Wikipedia Commons