Mark Cavendish says that this year’s Tour de France suits him and his Etixx – Quick-Step team, and he’s hoping to finish the race in the coveted green jersey on July 27.

Cavendish has won 25 stages at the Tour, putting him third on the list of all-time winners, but last year’s race was a bitter disappointment when he was forced to withdraw after a crash on the first stage.

“I’d love to win the green,” he told Cycling Weekly. “But the way to do it is just to win stages. There’s no other tactic.”

Despite his huge success in the race, Cavendish has only won the green jersey once, in 2011, with HTC-Highroad. The last three points classifications have been won by Peter Sagan.

Mark Cavendish wins stage 21 of the 2011 Tour de France, on his way to securing the green jersey (Watson)

Mark Cavendish wins stage 21 of the 2011 Tour de France, on his way to securing the green jersey (Watson)

“The first nine days across Holland, Belgium and northern France really suit our team down the ground,” the sprinter said. “The mix of short, punchy climbs like the Mur de Huy, cross-winds, the cobbles, small narrow roads… Etixx – Quick-Step is the team most qualified to do well in that first week.”

As well as changes to the points competition, this year’s Tour also features time bonuses for stage wins. Cavendish believes they will give his team to the opportunity to challenge for the yellow jersey in the early stages of the race, despite Etixx’s lack of a GC contender.

The 30-year-old said: “It’s the first year since I turned pro that the Tour de France will have time bonuses. If we can limit our losses in the prologue then there’s the opportunity to maybe get the yellow jersey for the first week.”

This year’s route begins with a 13.7km time trial in Utrecht on July 4, before climbing the famous Mur de Huy on stage three. Stage four includes the cobbles between Seraing (Belgium) and Cambrai (France), but the route is generally considered to be one that will suit climbers best.

  • David Sundheim

    I think they should add an “oldest rider Jersey” for the best rider over 35… It would have to be Gray of course.