Mark Cavendish rode onto the iconic Roubaix velodrome for the first time in his life on Thursday afternoon as he prepares to ride Paris-Roubaix for only the second time in his illustrious career. He got a feel for the gradient of the track and saw the legendary finish line that has seen so many greats of the sport win the Hell of the North. Yet he knows he is unlikely sprint for victory or even a placing in the final results this year.
Cavendish has won more than 135 races during the last decade but will not be the Dimension Data team leader for Paris-Roubaix; he is riding in support of Edvald Boasson Hagen. As payback he will get a chance to test his ability in the sport's most punishing Classic, in a moment of freedom and pure racing.
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