By Gerry McManus
Martin Pedersen (Team CSC), Mark Cavendish (T-Mobile) and James McCallum (Plowman Craven - Evans Cycles) attended the press conference ahead of the start of the Tour of Britain on Sunday 9th September.
Speaking at the Millenium Hotel adjacent to the Madejski Stadium in Reading on Saturday afternoon, last year's winner Pedersen is in confident mood before the start of the race on Sunday at Crystal Palace. "I think my form is really good," said Pedersen: "It's going to be a tough race but I hope to do really well in the results. I personally want to do really well but the whole team will be racing."
Mark Cavendish has returned to the race with even more confidence than he had as a stagiaire at last year's event but is not sure of his form. "I am not that well prepared," confessed Cavendish: "I had my wisdom tooth out last week and my form maybe not quite as good as it could have been but I am highly motivated to come back this year." The Manxman is unconcerned with the small six man teams in the race when it comes to the bunch gallop. "I only normally need one or two riders," continued Cavendish: "And I have got some really good people there like Roger (Hammond). He is normally the last man and he is perfect for that. The 2.5km prologue could be quite good for me and hopefully I can do something tomorrow but we will have to see how it goes."
Cavendish has picked out a number of riders who he thinks will be rivals in the bunch gallops. "Robert Hunter (Barloworld) has won a stage of the Tour de France this year and JJ Haedo (Team CSC) is obviously fast. I have got a good team with me and I have proved that I am fast this year so I am not scared of anyone."
James McCallum is looking forward to the race reaching his home town in Glasgow. "It has taken me seven hours to get down from Scotland yesterday and it will take me seven days to get back there," said the British men's criterium champion: "But it will be nice to race into Glasgow where I am originally from."