Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep) has currently secured more victories than any other pro rider this year.
With the early-season races in Australia, South America and the Middle East now completed, Cavendish has five 2015 wins to his name, more than fellow sprinters Marcel Kittel (Giant-Alpecin), Peter Sagan (Cannondale-Garmin) and Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) combined.
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Only Norwegian Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) has come close to Cavendish, with four victories so far.
After a winter spent competing – and winning – in Six Day events on the track, Cavendish took his first road win of the year in the Tour de San Luis in Argentina, claiming stage seven of the race after being beaten to second place on two occasions by Colombian Fernando Gaviria.
The Manxman then dominated the Dubai Tour, winning stages one and four on his way to taking the overall race win.
Cavendish went on to take the bunch sprint at the end of the Clasica de Almeria in Spain on February 15 to round off one of the strongest starts to his season since turning professional in 2007.
The 29-year-old still has a way to go to beat his most successful year to date: he won 23 races in 2009 including Milan-San Remo, six stages of the Tour de France and three in the Giro d’Italia when riding for HTC-Columbia.
For Mark Cavendish, 2014 will always be remembered as the year of that crash in Harrogate. But despite missing out
Kittel has just one victory to his name so far, the People’s Choice Classic in Australia in January. So, too, does Greipel, who opened his 2015 account on Sunday with final stage victory in the Volta ao Algarve. Tour de France green jersey champion Sagan is yet to win a race, although his focus is more on the impending Spring Classics.
Last year’s Milan-San Remo winner Kristoff has three stages of the Tour of Qatar and one in the Tour of Oman to his name. The prospect of Kristoff and Cavendish doing battle at this year’s Milan-San Remo on March 22 is an enticing one.
As focus now turns towards the Spring Classics and racing in mainland Europe gets in full swing, many riders and fans will dismiss early-season results as not being truly indicative of form, but there’s no doubt that Cavendish currently has a morale-boosting upper hand.