Tour de France

Cavendish eyes green jersey

2011-07-01 16:45
Mark Cavendish (AFP Photo)
Les Herbiers - Sprint king Mark Cavendish is hoping that adding to his impressive tally of stage wins will put him within reach of the Tour de France green jersey, despite the added difficulty of this year's race.

Cavendish has been the undisputed sprint master on the world's premier cycling event, notching up a record tally of 15 stage wins -- most from group or bunch sprints -- in three of his previous four participations.

Having missed out on the sprinters' main prize in 2010 to Italian Alessandro Petacchi, and finished only 10 points behind Norway's Thor Hushovd in 2009, the Isle of Man rider is not giving up the fight.

But while organisers have theoretically made that objective easier by tweaking the rules, the sprint stages themselves appear less than straightforward.

From the race's 21 stages only six -- stages three, five, seven, 11, 15 and 21 -- finish on the flat terrain favoured by Cavendish and his formidable lead-out train.

Although the most points are on offer at the stage finishes, he won't be ignoring the one intermediate sprint featuring in each stage.

"The way to win the green jersey is to win a lot of stages. I'll try to do both," he said at his HTC-Highroad team presentation Friday.

"There's 20 points on offer for an intermediate (sprint) so you have to do them.

"I'm going to concentrate as ever on me and the team doing our own jobs which is crossing the line first. It doesn't matter who is in second, third and fourth, as long as we try to win."

It took Cavendish until stage five to open his account in 2010, silencing the detractors after Petacchi had set out his stall by winning the first and fourth stages.

While Petacchi won the green jersey, Cavendish went on a winning spree which climaxed with yet another stage victory on the Champs Elysees.

Even before turning a pedal in anger, Cavendish feels the Tour is getting harder. He has simply tried to adapt accordingly.

"The last two years we've had more than 20 HC (hors categorie), Category one and Category two climbs," he added.

"That makes it a difficult route, plus all the intermediate stages are pretty up and down. You've just got to adapt. It's the Tour de France.

"I shouldn't expect the Tour de France to be designed for me to win sprints. We'll adapt and try to win whatever we can."

With several sprint stages also set for a hilly finish, Cavendish could find himself in the rare role of supporting more suited teammate Matt Goss of Australia.

"We'll change depending on the style of the run-in and who's up for that day," said Cavendish.

But before then, he fired a warning shot to his sprint rivals in other teams.

"I'm going good. This is the big race of the year. I'm lighter than last year, which is what you have to be," he said.

"When it's flatter you can come in with a bit better top end (speed) and a bit more weight. I lose a bit of top end but I'll get to the finish in better condition.

"It's just about adapting. I'm a professional cyclist, I have to do that. I've been working hard and I'm confident in my preparation.

"It's not that different to 2008 and I won a couple of stages in the first week there."

jd/nr11

Read more on:    tdf  |  mark cavendish
NEXT ON SPORT24X

Ulissi suspended again

2014-09-16 21:36

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

New GIF keyboard on iOS for added fun!

Soon sending an LOL! or facepalm will be so much more fun!

 
 

For chic geeks...

Puppy goes crazy over iPad game
Printable solar panels will bring exciting new opportunities!
Now there’s a special lane for texting while walking
LOL! 7 brutally honest texts from parents

Standings

Vote

What do you enjoy most about the Tour de France?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.