Tour de France

Cavendish eyes up TDF yellow

2013-06-27 17:04
Mark Cavendish (AFP)

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2013-06-26 13:29

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Porto Vecchio -  Just as the Tour de France is entering into new territory, visiting Corsica for the first time in its history, so sprint king Mark Cavendish is aiming to do something he has never done before in Saturday's opening stage.

The 28-year-old from the Isle of Man has his sights set on winning the 213-kilometre ride up Corsica's east coast from Porto-Vecchio to Bastia as he looks to pull on the legendary overall race leader's yellow jersey for the first time.

"The yellow jersey is the only major jersey I am missing now," Cavendish said Thursday at an Omega Pharma-Quick Step team press conference aboard the huge boat that is serving as race headquarters during it's visit to Corsica.

"It is one of the most iconic symbols in the world of sport. It would be a beautiful thing."

Cavendish has previously won the green jersey for the points competition on the Tour de France and is very much a man in form, having won five stages on last month's Giro d'Italia and the recent British national road race title.

Now he has the perfect chance to don yellow on the Tour, which has done away with the traditional prologue in favour of an opening stage that will favour the sprinters.

"For sure the fact the yellow jersey is up for grabs makes it special," Cavendish said of the opening stage before admitting his pride at coming into the race wearing the national champion's jersey.

"It is an honour. I am proud of my country and I'm patriotic. I want to do the jersey proud."

The former Team Sky star knows that, in theory, the race is open to all types of rider, with seven stages set to favour the sprinters and seven to come in the mountains.

However, he feels that the yellow jersey will be beyond his reach once the race returns to mainland France for Tuesday's fourth stage in Nice.

"For sure I will not be wearing the yellow jersey in Paris," he said. "It is possible that a sprinter could win it on the second day but the third day will be more for a puncher.

"We might see the yellow jersey change shoulders every day during the first week."

Instead, Cavendish's focus will be on reclaiming the green jersey that he won in 2011 before losing out to Peter Sagan last year.

"For sure, it's always a clear target," he said of the green jersey. "But the way I get it is by winning stages so first and foremost I have to try and do that.

"That's my tactic to win the green jersey. That has always been my way because I can't go attacking in the mountains, I haven't got the physionomy for that, it's not possible."

Cavendish has won a total of 23 stages on the Tour, with his first triumph coming in 2008.

Apart from Saturday's opener, the sprinter-friendly stages on this Tour will be stages five, six, 10, 12, 13 and 21 -- the last being on the Champs Elysees where Cavendish will aim for a fifth consecutive win.

Read more on:    tdf  |  mark cavendish  |  cycling

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