Though the Olympics road race takes place just five days later, Mark Cavendish is adamant that he will go all the way to Paris at the 2012 Tour de France. The Manxman also dismissed the idea that Team Sky would have to choose between his green jersey challenge and Bradley Wiggins' tilt at overall honours.
Speaking after the route presentation at the Palais de Congrés on Tuesday, Cavendish' message was clear: "I'm going to Paris." He pointed out that the bulk of the contenders for gold in London would be using the Tour to fine-tune their form for the race, which takes place on July 28.
"I think most of the guys who are favourites for the Olympics will be riding the Tour de France anyway, so it shouldn't put me in a bad position," he said. "I have to finish the Tour de France if I want to win on the Champs-Élysées. Then it's five days [to the Olympics]. It is how it is, so I'll try and go my best for four weeks."
With two long time trials on the menu at the Tour for the first time since 2007, Team Sky and Bradley Wiggins will know that he has never had a better chance to make it onto the podium in Paris. However, Cavendish insisted that he and his future stablemate would be able to coexist on the same team in July.
"Me and Brad speak every day. If there were problems between us then at least one of us wouldn't be at Sky next year," said Cavendish, who confirmed his arrival from HTC-Highroad shortly after winning the world championships last month.
"I've joined Sky because I think they can perform well. Brad's at Sky because he thinks they can perform well. Sky have ambition, so what's the problem? Teams have done it before."
The last team to secure both the green and yellow jerseys at the Tour de France was the Telekom team of Erik Zabel and Jan Ullrich in 1997, but Cavendish believes that his new squad can bridge that 15-year gap.
"It's a challenge for a lot of teams and teams have done it in the past," he said. "We've got the horsepower to do it, so we're going to try and get green and yellow."
Cavendish has identified seven days next July where he can hope to add to his ever-expanding tally of Tour stage wins, which currently lies at twenty.
"I think there's something for everyone next year. I think you'll see a lot of different stage winners, but hopefully not on the sprint days," he said. "It's a very diverse route. There are seven sprint days, as normal. 92 time trial kilometres which is good for the time triallists and a good mix of small and high mountains."
All told, a good Tour for Wiggins? "It really is. There are 92 kilometres of time trialling over three weeks, but there are some steep climbs. He'll have to be on super, super form, which he will be at the Tour de France."
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Barry Ryan is Head of Features at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation (opens in new tab), published by Gill Books.
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