Manxman takes aim at Tour de France
Mark Cavendish may be among the chief contenders for the green jersey at the Tour de France but yellow will be the only colour on the Omega Pharma-QuickStep man’s mind when he lines up for the opening stage on June 29.
The Manxman has never worn the maillot jaune during his career but with the peloton facing a flat road stage from Porto-Vecchio to Bastia on the opening day of the race, he has the best opportunity of his career to date to hold the overall lead at the Tour.
“I’d like to wear the yellow jersey after the first stage in Corsica. It’s the only one of the three grand tours where I haven’t worn the leader’s jersey, so I’d like to do that,” Cavendish told Sporza.
Cavendish’s rivals at the Tour will include Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) and André Greipel (Lotto Belisol), who each got the better of him in bunch sprints at the Ster ZLM Toer last week. The Dutch race was Cavendish’s first since completing the Giro d’Italia three weeks ago, however, and he will be confident of adding to his running tally of 23 Tour stages next month in France.
“I don’t fear anybody. It’s irrelevant who’s there. There are some strong guys but if you’re looking at the other guys, you’re not looking at the goal, which is crossing the finish line first,” Cavendish said.
Cavendish has won twelve races in 2013 after making the switch from Sky to Omega Pharma-QuickStep during the off-season and he paid tribute to the efforts of his new teammates, who helped pilot him to five stage wins and the points competition at the Giro.
“For me the atmosphere in the team is everything. I’m really an emotional guy and my performance does count a lot on how I’m feeling,” Cavendish said."I’m super happy at Omega Pharma-QuickStep. I think I’ve won the most races out of any rider and they’ve been big races. We had an incredibly successful Giro d’Italia, we had an incredible group there and we’re just pushing on to the Tour de France now.”
Omega Pharma-QuickStep directeur sportif Tom Steels pledged that the team was ready to match Cavendish's ambitions at the Tour. “He will be 300 percent motivated and the team is ready,” Steels said. “Everybody would go through fire for Mark.”