CAVENDISH FIRED UP FOR NATIONALS

Mark Cavendish has entered the National Championships on June 29 and wants to win the famous white jersey with red and blue bands so he can wear it in the Tour de France.

The 23-year-old High Road sprinter believes the course will suit him and his team-mate Roger Hammond, but he accepts the riders returning from Europe will face a tough time in what will be a tactical race.

High Road?s other British rider, Bradley Wiggins, will not be in the race, which takes place at Duncombe Park, North Yorkshire. Instead he and the other team pursuiters, including Geraint Thomas and Steve Cummings of Barloworld, will be on a track training camp preparing for August?s Olympic Games.

?I think the course will be good for me,? said Cavendish, who flies to Italy today to train for a few days before starting the Ster Elektrotoer in Holland next week (June 17-21).

?It?s ideal for Roger too. He?s won the Nationals before so he knows what it?s all about. We?ll ride for each other, but with a limit to how much we can do. There?s only two of us and we can?t cover every break.

?British racing is very different and it gets a lot more tactical. I know that if someone like me or Roger gets in a break there?ll be people who?ll want to sit up. So it?s likely that we?ll have to wait for a good group to go, make sure it doesn?t get to far, and then ride across to it.?

The rest of the field will be very wary of Cavendish?s sprint. There are few riders in the world who can beat him. ?If I get to the finish in the front group, I?m pretty confident.?

He added that he wanted to wear the national champion?s jersey in the Tour de France but he said competition would be fierce. ?Dave [Millar] has had it for a year and I know he wants to keep it,? he said.

The Tour de France is very much in Cavendish?s mind as the ideal build-up for the Olympic Games, although it is very unlikely he?d go all the way to Paris. Even though there are some hilly days, there are opportunities in the first week for him to repeat his success at the Giro d?Italia. ?I really want to ride the Tour again and hopefully that?ll happen,? he said.

Thursday’s Cycling Weekly weighs up the best of the domestic riders against the Brits returning from abroad and assesses their chances of winning the national title.

The Premier Calendar returns with the Beaumont Grand Prix on Sunday. Look out for the big cyclingweekly.co.uk preview tomorrow

RAPHA IN CANADA

Dale Appleby was forced to pull out of the first stage of the Tour de Beauce in Canada with gastric problems. Rapha-Condor-Recycling’s manager John Herety said: “Dale was still not 100 per cent this morning. He’s pretty gutted to come all this way to be sick on the morning of the first stage. The race doctor treated him but it was always going to be tough for him with high humidity and temperatures in the 30s.”

Chris Newton was Rapha-Condor-Recycling?s best-placed rider in a tough opening stage. He was 31st, 1-17 down on winner Bernardo Colex Tepoz of Mexico. Kristian House was 42nd at 1-30, Ryan Bonser 47th at 1-42, Graham Briggs 63rd at 2-52, Rob Partridge 64th at 2-53 and Rhys Lloyd was 102nd at 8-02.

COX FLYING IN CANADA

Leda Cox, who rode for Great Britain in the Tour de l?Aude last month, had an excellent day in the Tour de Prince Edward Island in Canada yesterday. Riding for NEBC-Cycle Loft, she got in the race-winning break and finished fifth in the sprint at the end of stage three, behind winner Rochelle Gilmore of Australia. The group finished 2-28 ahead of the bunch, which means Cox has climbed up to fifth overall, 2-56 back on leader Kori Kelley Seehafer of the USA with two stages remaining.

BRITS UP AND RUNNING IN GERMANY

All six British riders finished safely in the bunch on the first stage of the Thuringen Rundfahrt under-23 race in Germany. Ben Swift took eighth place, which was sixth in the bunch sprint. The 80-kilometre stage was won by Germany?s Stefan Schafer, who was five seconds ahead of Tobias Buchheister. The bunch were at 27 seconds. The other British riders were Jonny Bellis (32nd), Jonathan McEvoy (34th), Alex Dowsett (72nd), Mark McNally (83rd) and Peter Kennaugh (89th). Today?s second stage is 167 kilometres long.

TUESDAY’S BRITISH NEWS ROUND-UP

Tuesday?s British news round-up

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