By Gerry McManus
Britain's Mark Cavendish (T-Mobile) was thrilled at taking the green jersey as the points winner in the six day Tour of Britain that finished in London on Sunday. Spectators got a small glimpse of the growing sprinting talent from the 21-year-old Manx man when he finished third behind world champion Tom Boonen (QuickStep-Innergetic). The tour marked his debut with a major professional team during his stint as a stagiaire with T-Mobile. He has been riding for the German Team Sparkasse outfit this year.
"On Sunday the team did a good job for me to keep the race together but I just didn't have the legs at the end," said Cavendish. "It was an amazing experience to go round London. I haven't been to London that often because I am based in Manchester. It was spectacular to come and finish in The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace. It would be great to come back here for the Tour de France," he continued: "But I think it will be a bit too soon for me as I'm only 21 but I hope to get back again for the Tour of Britain."
Cavendish has signed a two year deal with T-Mobile and will be eligible for team and race selection depending on his results and form. He has already shown that he can perform on the world stage when he won the world Madison championships in Los Angeles paired with the more experienced Rob Hayles (Team KLR) last year. He has also won gold medals at the European and Commonwealth track championships and is the first of a new generation of endurance cyclists emerging from British Cycling to get a professional contract. The performance of the young GB squad of 18 and 19-year-olds during last week's race was impressive to say the least.
Cavendish has already set himself some big targets: "I've got the world road race championships coming up and I need to make amends for last year when I only got 14th. I want get experience in my first professional year and to be able to start winning big races the year after."