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Mark Cavendish: I know if I went to the Tour de France, I'd win

Mark Cavendish
Mark Cavendish pulls on the British champion's jesey (Image credit: SW Pix)

Mark Cavendish made his case for Tour de France selection at the British championships on Sunday, both on the road and in his winner's post-race interview. 

The Manxman produced an all-action display to claim the second road race national title of his career, attacking from the early kilometres before eventually prevailing in a three-up sprint.

It was a clear indication of his form five days out from the Tour de France, but the likelihood is he won't even be on the start line. Despite winning four stages and tying Eddy Merckx's record of 34 last year, every indication is that Fabio Jakobsen will take the sprinter's spot at QuickStep-AlphaVinyl

After pulling on the national champion's jersey, Cavendish was asked about the Tour, which gets underway in Copenhagen on Friday.

"I feel so much better than last year and you know what happened last year... I won four stages at the Tour de France and the green jersey," he said. 

"It's unlikely I'll go to the Tour de France so I might as well use it today and at least show that the reason I'm not going to the Tour is not because I've got bad form."

While acknowledging his Tour participation as "unlikely", Cavendish nevertheless explained that it hadn't been definitively ruled out, and things are still up in the air. 

"I haven't had a call from team one way or the other. I don't know. Normally you get a call to say you're going or not going but this time and I haven't had anything, so I'm trying to stay optimistic with that. But we'll see," he said. 

As if his performance on the roads of Scotland hadn't been clear enough, he left no doubt about how he sees both his form and what he could offer at the Tour. 

"You can see my condition, that I'm good enough to do the Tour. I know if I went, I'd win [a stage]," he said.  

"I know that other guys in the team who go would win. And I'd just be happy with whatever."

And yet, the desire is clearly there. In another revealing comment, Cavendish made reference to the historic feat that lays at his fingertips. 

"Can you imagine winning a 35th Tour de France stage in the British champion's jersey. It'd be really beautiful. Those photos would be there forever."

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Patrick Fletcher
Patrick Fletcher

Deputy Editor - Europe. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2021 he has been Deputy Editor - Europe, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.