The Manxman takes aim at Spanish Grand Tour after finishing second in Sunday's Tour of Britain opener.

Mark Cavendish took aim at the Vuelta a Espana on Sunday, as his Tour of Britain began with a second place finish in Wrexham on stage one.

Cavendish, who was beaten by Sky’s Elia Viviani in the national tour opener, hasn’t competed in the Spanish event since making an early exit from it in 2011.

This is the fifth-year running that the Manxman has competed in the Tour of Britain, something he attributed to the race’s parcours.

“The Vuelta has just become stupid now; 11 mountain-top finishes this year,” he said, speaking to ITV. “One thing for the viewers: sprinters aren’t bad bike riders. You don’t have to go quick uphill to make it a good race, do you know what I mean?

“No-one wants to go to the Vuelta any more unless they crashed out of the Tour de France.

“This is the best race to prepare for the worlds; it’s hard, it’s heavy roads, long stages. And I just hope Mick [Bennett, race director] and the organisers keep it like this, and don’t make it crazy like the Vuelta, because people stop coming then.

“But at the minute I like to come here. I like to race in front of the home fans. And I do like to win but unfortunately that didn’t happen today.”

Watch Cycling Weekly’s guide to the Tour of Britain’s riders to watch


Cavendish also admitted that paying too much attention to Lotto-Soudal’s André Greipel in the Welsh town’s finishing straight allowed Viviani clean air to the line.

He added: “In the last straight, I knew it was going to be a slog, and actually when I kicked off Mark [Renshaw, his Etixx-Quick Step team-mate] I kicked really well.

“The line was just not coming quick enough. I looked over, could sense Greipel there and I think I sensed too much of Greipel.

“If I’d kept the left hand shut maybe I would have got it, but I was too concerned with the right and Elia came through on the line.

“Actually I’m pretty happy. I’m super happy with the team but obviously it’s disappointing
not to win.”

  • AmIJustAPessimistOrWhat?

    Oooops! So Cav had a bad day and let it show – bad showmanship. Most of the time though he does put on a good face – hope he doesn’t turn into a grouch as he ages.

  • SeanMcCuen

    you’re wrong little buddy, the fewer sprint stages, the better. just stick to the redundant sideshow that is the ToB.

  • Bob

    I think Robert Millar would have agreed he was stitched up 1985

  • Chucky Beans

    Personally, I like stages with sprint finishes. Saves so much time. In the evening you watch the last 5km on demand and listen to Carlton Kirby splather for 3 minutes about roundabouts and sleeping policemen and getting position for that hard right hander that will surely determine final positioning for the sprint 1.5 km away and then you can get on with other things in the evening like cleaning your bottom bracket or polishing your spokes.

  • diegodg

    Nothing more boring than several flat stages in a grand tour where everything gets decided in the final 50 meters. It could also be argued to Mr Cavendish that the stronger guys are the ones that finally prevail in a grandtour, not just the fastest ones ore the ones with the mightiest lead out train

  • Flat Cambridge

    I wondered how much the Tour of Britain organisers are paying Mr Cavendish to say such nonsense to promote a race which is not even a World Tour category in detriment of a race with the history and category of La Vuelta.
    It would have been more honest to say I can’t be bother with races like La Vuelta anymore because I can’t make it to the sprints now that the organisers disqualify cyclists for latching onto a team car during climbs.

  • David Simons

    He can’t ride mountains well so he dismisses it. As a rider, I never ride for 5 hours and then sprint the last 500m. And as a spectator – tv or on course – I never watch a bunch of riders spinning along for 200 kms and then trying to go as fast as they can for the final 500m. 2 hours of intensive riding including lots of climbing and descending, now that’s a ride.

  • Germán Hernández

    Has he lost his mind? He doesn´t know what he’s saying man. The best are competing La Vuelta right now (even the Tour de France winner was in it!). I understand he likes sprints cos they’re the only kind of races he can win, but he’s underrating people who make a great effort at the mountains. Obviously he would like the Tour of Britain to be one of the best cycling races in the world, I don’t blame him for it, but this is not the way!

  • Bob

    personally i much prefer to see the guys toughing it out on a climb rather than a 30 second mad dash at the end when the only time you see guys like Cav near the front is the last 100 yards. Respect to what he’s achieved but flat stages are just boring TV

  • Vuelta a Superior

    What a child! Pozzo and Aru both trained especially for Giro and La Vuelta, the Colombians the most exciting pure climbers in the world aim for the Vuelta.

    Cavendish is a sore loser. Grand Tours which the Tour of Britain is not and never will be are the true test of a rider in the their strength, endurance and ability. Sprinting stages should be kept to a minimum like at the Vuelta sprinting stages are only beaten in the levels of boredom by Team Time Trials.

  • Vuelta a Superior

    And did he win yesterday? na eh brah

  • jani

    “No-one wants to go to the Vuelta any more unless they crashed out of the Tour de France.”
    Froomey was there!
    I believe, he has won TDF 🙂

  • SMT


  • SMT

    No one’s begging you to start in the Vuelta.

  • Hugi

    As above. I do not actually watch sprint finish stages. In a real world racing though , bunch sprint is very exciting !

  • Larry Page

    1. Tour of what? Vuelta is history.
    2. 240 flat Km, compact pelotone, to see a final sprint, is it spectacular?
    3. to see spectacular sprinters it’s better trackcycling in the velodrome
    4. definitely whiner

  • J1

    A good race has a mix of both. The Queen stage of the Vuelta that Rodriguez had a hand in designing was a pretty boring stage, despite the 6 peak shark teeth profile.

  • Brendan Power

    Looks like a typo – I’m sure you meant, ‘Cavendish is just a winner’.

  • Shai

    Cavendish should just go back to the track and leave us alone to enjoy cycling. 5 hours of boredom for a sprint finish after 200km that he now loses and goes blaming his team mates. I used to kinda like Cav, but he became an asshole. Sprint stages are the only stages in a grand tour not to watch…

  • poisonjunction

    What would you know????

  • Will

    Seriously, who wants to watch a mountain stage where true endurance and will is tested when we can watch a bunch sprint?

  • FPCyclist


  • debthater

    Yeah, right, bike racing fans love watching 230 kms of peloton fully intact with a sprint finish. Much more interesting than the last couple of stages of the Vuelta – that’s probably why nobody comes out to watch the mountaintop finishes anymore.

  • Ady

    The Vuelta is as much of a stictch up for the home favourite as it is possible to be in a grand tour.

  • carlos Julio

    Cavendish is just a whiner!