Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC) and Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam) sprint for a prime during the Amstel Curaçao Race.
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Medium-term objectives include Tour of Flanders
Mark Cavendish's top priority this season will be the green jersey of best sprinter in the Tour de France. After an astonishing 29 victories last year, the world's fastest sprinter has vowed to fight for - and win - the points classification taken by Thor Hushovd in 2009.
"The top goal in 2010 is the green at the Tour," Cavendish told Sportwereld. "The jersey was stolen from me in Pontarlier (sic) [stage 14 to Besancon - ed.]. The jury said that I cut off the way for Hushovd. The first rule in a sprint such as this one is that you never go on the inside. But Hushovd proved later, with his raids in the mountains, that he deserved the green."
The Manxman also cited the Ronde van Vlaanderen as one of his next objectives. "I will be 25 in May. I don't know my own limits yet. I dream of the Tour of Flanders, which I have never raced. Once I'm 28, I want to have won the Tour of Flanders. I've always lived up to my words when I stated a goal. When I want something, I work twice as hard for it and I achieve it."
Cavendish provided an example for this with his "enormous" victory in Milano-Sanremo this year. "That was my goal in 2009," he said. "Nobody knows how hard I trained for it during the winter - like a maniac. I wanted to prove to everybody that I was able to get over the climbs."
His outstanding success in Sanremo was Cavendish's personal favourite last year, "followed by the sprint on the Champs-Elysées. I rate these two wins well above all the rest. Another great one was the team time trial of the first day in the Giro d'Italia. We won and I took the pink jersey.
"I am especially proud of my six stage victories in the Tour," he continued. "From the profile it was a much harder Tour than in 2008, where I had to abandon after four stage wins. I prepared for it differently, too, I trained much harder."
The 24-year-old was confident he was going to be able to continue his winning ways this year, and did not fear his rivals. "I read in Procycling that Tyler Farrar promised a tight match between us. He says that he's made some improvements. But I'm better. Last year I won every sprint I wanted. Tyler, Oscar Freire, Alessandro Petacchi are great sprinters, but there is still a difference to me. Sorry, but just look at the photo finishes..."
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