After failing to figure in the sprint finish at the end of yesterday’s stage two at the Tour de France, Mark Cavendish has told us that he is far more optimistic about his chances for victory in today’s stage to Nantes.

On paper, the route from St Malo to Nantes looks like perfect Cav material – virtually flat, with a nice, long fast run-in to the line. Watching and waiting for Cavendish in Nantes will be his British Cycling mentor Rod Ellingworth, a man whose presence is almost talismanic for the young Isle of Man sprinter, and Cavendish is sure to up his game today.

?It?s a better chance for me personally. It?s a pan flat run in so it?s more suited to me. It?s one of the finishes I?ve been targeting for the whole race,? Cavendish said.

?We?ve got a chance of winning every stage with the team here and so we?ve got to take every stage as it comes but it should be a decent opportunity to get a full on bunch sprint.?

In yesterday’s stage two, Cav’s Team Columbia managed to get second (Kim Kirchen) and third (Gerald Ciolek) places behind winner Thor Hushovd after Cavendish faltered on the final hill. If Columbia opt to use Kirchen and Ciolek to catapult Cavendish to the line, they have a sure-fire strategy for the win.

WILL TOMORROW BE MILLAR TIME?

David Millar goes into Tuesday’s time trial as one of the favourites for the stage win. Although the Scotsman’s record against the clock this year is rather variable, he has a proved track record in Tour time trials.

Millar has played a very tactical game so far – limiting his time loses against current overall leader Alejandro Valverde to put himself in the best possible position before the stage four TT to snatch the yellow jersey. He currently lies in seventh spot overall, just one second adrift of Valverde.

Although Millar told us yesterday that it will be difficult – impossible, even – to get the yellow jersey from Valverde, we have faith in Millar to come up with the goods. It’s his one chance of getting hold of the leader’s jersey this year and he will do his utmost to get it.

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: STAGE REPORTS

Stage two: Hushovd wins chaotic sprint

Stage one: Valverde wins

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: NEWS

Cavendish disappointed with stage two result

Millar too close to Tour yellow jersey

Stage 2 preview: A sprint finish for Cavendish?

Millar happy after gains precious seconds in Plumelec

Valverde delighted with opening Tour stage win

Comment: Is Valverde’s win a good thing for the Tour?

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: PHOTOS

Stage two

Stage one

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: GUIDE

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