Mark Cavendish threw down the gauntlet on Wednesday in Paris, aiming to win every stage possible and claim the green jersey at next year's Tour de France. The Columbia-HTC rider was among an elite band of riders at the presentation and counted five possible stage wins for himself and his sprint rivals. He allowed his wins may number as many as eight, if circumstances go his way.
"There are five sprint stages and most of them are in the first week. At a stretch, there are possibly eight altogether, but I have to survive the last two weeks if I'm to maintain the green jersey challenge. That's the main aim for next year." he told Cyclingnews.
Last year Cavendish won an impressive six stages, to add to the four he won in 2008, but he missed out on the green jersey to Thor Hushovd, despite the Norwegian only claiming one win in the race. The competition between the two riders was overshadowed by an official ruling on stage 14 when Cavendish was alleged to have deviated from his sprinting line. He was docked points and relegated to last on the stage, leaving Hushovd in an almost unassailable lead.
"It was a paper decision that decided the jersey last year. Well just have to hope that there are no dodgy barriers this year," Cavendish said.
Despite saying that there were up to eight stages with a sprint finish, Cavendish doesn't believe that he'll surpass last year's stage-winning achievements. "It's unlikely, not next year anyway, but never say never. Every time I can try and win, I'll try. Whether that means 20 times or once, it doesn't matter. I'm never going to sacrifice wins and the jersey might come from that. That's my mentality."
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