The Tour de France starts tomorrow in Rotterdam with the most British riders in 40 years – eight – something Mark Cavendish is proud to be a part of.

“Eight riders, it is incredible. You would not have ever thought that. They are not just making up the numbers, but they will have a big impact on the race,” Cavendish explained.

“It will be exciting to watch Bradley [Wiggins] race for the GC and it is the first time the national champs jersey has been in the Tour for a while. I think Geraint Thomas is a great guy to have it. I am excited to ride with those guys.

“It is a great year to be a British fan watching the Tour de France.”

Cavendish leads team HTC-Columbia and his aim is to win stages for the green jersey competition. He is the only Brit in his nine-man team, but races alongside Great Britain’s Sky.

Sky is racing its second Grand Tour this year and making its debut in the Tour de France. Besides Wiggins, the team will race with Brits Steve Cummings and Thomas. Brits are also in teams Cervélo (Dan Lloyd and Jeremy Hunt), Garmin (David Millar) and Omega Pharma-Lotto (Charles Wegelius).

Cavendish may be the most visible Brit along with Wiggins. Last year, he won six stages and narrowly missed winning the green jersey.

“I am always nervous for the Tour de France, it is a special race. Not just the race, but everything around it. It is a three-week emotional roller coaster, that is what makes it so special,” Cavendish continued.

“Because I won six last year, it does not mean I need to win six this year. I want to win as much as possible, 21 stages, but that is not realistic.”

“We want to win first and foremost, and then try to reach Paris with the green jersey.”

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