Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cavendish Has His Sights on Wearing the Green Jersey; CYCLING

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cavendish Has His Sights on Wearing the Green Jersey; CYCLING

Article excerpt

MARK Cavendish maintained his focus on the finish line on the eve of the Tour de France.

The 26-year-old from the Isle of Man, who has been linked with a move to Team Sky in 2012, at the end of his contract with HTC-Highroad, has won 15 Tour stages in three years and is aiming to win the points classification's green jersey in Paris on July 24.

Ahead of the Tour start today, Cavendish said: "I'm going to concentrate as ever on me and the team doing our own jobs, which is crossing the line first. It doesn't matter who is in second, third and fourth as long as we try to win.

"The way to win the green jersey is to win a lot of stages. I'll try to do both.

"I'm going well. It is a tougher Tour this year - the intermediate stages and the flat stages are tougher than they have been. I'm lighter than last year, which is what you have to be.

"I lose a bit of top-end speed but I'll get to the finish in better condition."

Today's 191kilometre opening stage in the Vendee region of western France from Passage du Gois to Mont des Alouettes Les Herbiers features an uphill finish and favours top one-day racers like Philippe Gilbert (pictured below), Fabian Cancellara and Thor Hushovd.

Cavendish (pictured right) believes it is possible he will be in contention for the stage win - and with it the race leader's yellow jersey - but some of his HTC-Highroad teammates are better suited for the stage.

That includes Australian Tour debutant Matt Goss, who in March won the Milan-San Remo classic.

Rather than feeling threatened by Goss' presence on the team, which could dilute his own chances of success, Cavendish is pleased.

He added: "He's a different sprinter to me. It adds to the strength of our team. Stages where I necessarily won't get to the finish, Matt Goss will get to the finish."

Asked whether Cavendish would support Goss if his team-mate took the point's classification's maillot vert, the Manxman said: "Of course I would. That's a given.

"Like you see with our team we just want to win. …

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