British sprinter Mark Cavendish (T-Mobile) has been struggling with a tooth problem in the build-up to the Tour of Britain but he is determined to win at least one stage in this year?s race.
In the absence of Tour de France prologue winner Fabian Cancellara, 22 year-old Cavendish is now virtually the only big name in the Tour of Britain but after his hugely successful debut season he is now comfortable in the spotlight, even if he knows he is not in great form.
?My form isn?t as good as it was because I hardly ate anything for a few days last week but I?m highly motivated to do well,? he said in a pre-race press conference on Saturday afternoon before Sunday prologue in Crystal Palace.
?Unfortunately my tooth problem started in the Eneco Tour. I didn?t want to take antibiotics and so suffered through it. I had the tooth removed and I?m getting better. I trained well in the last few days but I?m not sure how it will have affected my form.?
Cavendish hasn?t studied the profile of the stages but will racing flat out starting with Sunday?s 2.5km prologue.
?It?s short and fast and so I?ll be having a go. We?ve only got six man teams and so it?ll be difficult to control things. The average speed might be lower here than in the big ProTour races but I?m sure there will be more attacking. Fortunately we?ve got some good riders in our team. Roger (Hammond) is riding especially well. He?s normally my last man and so I?m confident we can do well.?
Cavendish will face serious competition in the sprints from Robbie Hunter and his Barloworld team mates Enrico Degano, J-J Haedo (CSC), Frenchman Romain Feillu (Agritubel) who impressed in the Tour de France sprints.
?I?m not scared of anyone anymore because I?ve proved I?m fast enough to win sprints all year,? Cavendish said.
?It?s great to be racing in Britain again but I don?t feel under pressure. The only pressure I feel is from myself because I want to do my best in my home Tour.?
Cavendish will lead a strong T-Mobile team that also includes Tour de France stage winner and yellow jersey wearer Linus Gerdemann, Roger Hammond, Servais Knaven, Ian Stannard, Adam Hansen and Rabon Frantisek.
Tour of Britain 2007 preview