Cavendish: Winning stage one and taking yellow is the top goal of next year’s Tour de France
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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Cavendish: Winning stage one and taking yellow is the top goal of next year’s Tour de France

by VeloNation Press at 11:01 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 

Mark Cavendish Setting out his target early after the route of next year’s Tour de France was unveiled, Mark Cavendish has said that he is determined to try to win stage one of the race and to take Maillot Jaune number one of the 2014 edition.

This year was the first time in several decades for the opening stage to be conducive to a bunch sprint, thus giving a very rare opportunity to the sprinters to take yellow. Race organisers ASO have decided to repeat that formula this time round and the route of the stage, as revealed today, makes it almost certain that a mass sprint will decide things at the end of the 191 kilometre race from Leeds to Harrogate.

“The first stage finishes in my home town,” said Cavendish, referring to the place where his mother is from and where he spent some time as a child. “A lot of my family will be there. We have an apartment fifty metres from the finish line. I used to stay there two or three times a year as a child, right by the finish line.

“It will be the second opportunity in my career to try for the yellow jersey. Obviously I missed it this year, I would like to try again for the stage win and the yellow jersey. But, ultimately [the aim is] to have a successful week at home and then to come back to France and carry on with it for three weeks.”

The rider who was the best sprinter this year, Marcel Kittel, also indicated that he wants to try to win that stage. Cavendish acknowledged during this year’s Tour that the German rider was in better form than he was, but he’ll work hard to ensure he’s in better condition in July 2014.

In addition to trying to regain his mantle as the world’s fastest man, the location of the first three stages gives the Omega Pharma Quick Step rider additional motivation.

“I started my first TDF at home, in London,” he told Eurosport, referring to the 2007 race. “To go back to the UK for the start of the Tour de France for the second time in my career is a big, big thing, to be able to do this in my mother’s home county of Yorkshire… It is an honour that I was chosen to be an ambassador.

“It is difficult for a sprinter to wear the yellow jersey these days. But Christian [Prudhomme, the race director – ed.] has been great in putting the race for sprinters last year and this year. [It’s great] to have that opportunity. I obviously missed that this year and it would make it completely special to do it in my mother’s home town as well.”

Cavendish has already won 25 Tour de France stages and has been tipped by some as being likely to beat the all time record set by Eddy Merckx of 34.

Asked today if that was one of his chief goals for the rest of his career, he said that nothing can be taken for granted.

“Obviously to put your name in the same sentence as Eddy Merckx is something no rider on the planet would do. You have got to show the Tour de France the respect it deserves,” he answered. “One win in Tour de France makes a rider’s career, let alone one win in each Tour.

“I made it a thing of winning multiple stages every year. I would like to carry on doing that. But to set a target of a certain number of stage wins in the Tour de France is not something you do.

“It is the hardest bike race on the planet, the hardest sporting event on the planet. I love it, I want to go back and be successful every year. But to show it the respect it deserves, you can’t just assume to go and win every year at the Tour de France.”

One goal he will speak about is the target of adding to his four stage wins on the final day of the Tour in Paris. He was gunning for another win there this year but lost out to Kittel. He’s still just 28 years of age, though, and has time on his side.

“If I win six times on the Champs Elysees, I’ll get a house in Paris. That’s for sure,” he promised. “Jean Francois [Pescheux, the Tour’s technical director] said they would rename a road Mark Cavendish if I won six times in Paris. So I have to do that.”

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