British flags fly over Mark Cavendish as he is greeted by girlfriend Peta Todd and baby Delilah
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A photographic timeline from Liège to Paris
He needs little introduction when it comes to the Tour de France. When the Tour began in Belgium, the sprinter dubbed the "Manx Missile" could lay claim to an impressive haul of 20 stage wins - since his Tour debut in 2007. This year he has reportedly lost four kilograms in preparation for the Olympic Games – held just one week after the Tour rolls into Paris. Some have suggested this weight loss has stripped him of some speed in bunch sprints but the Sky rider will tell you otherwise.
Cavendish won’t have the same lead-out support of years past but that shouldn’t stop him from racking up at least one or more stage victories in the next three weeks. History would suggest he needs a few days before cracking his first bottle of celebratory champagne.
He won the maillot vert last year and would love to win it again however, the idea of winning the Olympic road race in Great Britain and his team’s goal of winning the Tour with Bradley Wiggins may relegate this objective to a following year. We’ll know in the coming weeks how his green jersey defence is progressing.
Once he takes his opening victory expect his tally of Tour stages to steadily increase all the way to Paris – if he doesn’t decide to pull out of the Tour in place of pursuing his Olympic dreams.
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