Mark Cavendish begins his 2022 season at the Tour of Oman on Thursday, and the Manxman is looking forward to seeing where he compares with the other riders in the peloton at this early stage.
However, Cavendish has managed to recover from those events and spend time preparing for the new campaign. He has previously raced in Oman three times before, winning a stage in 2011, and now he is intrigued to find out the racing form he finds himself in at the start of 2022.
Speaking to the media, including Cyclingnews, Cavendish said: "I think everybody coming into a new season looks forward to starting to see their shape.
"You don't really know. It doesn't matter how you're going until you compare yourself with the other people."
The six-day race will likely feature three stages favouring sprinters, offering Cavendish the perfect opportunity to dust off the cobwebs and try and get an early win under his belt.
While the 36-year-old acknowledges this, he understands that whatever the result, the Tour of Oman will provide a better base for the team to improve upon as the Classics start at the end of February.
He continued: "We're here with a group that can come work okay, across all terrains.[There are] possibly three sprint opportunities this year, but we have [Fausto] Masnada for the GC. It's a big climb up Green Mountain and you have to come prepared for all terrains, you know. It's not an easy a few days here.
"But it's a brilliant preparation race for the bigger races coming up. It's nice here in Oman – I've been here a few times and I enjoy the race. It's a beautiful place to ride."
Joining Cavendish and Masnada in Oman from Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl will be Iljo Keisse, Stijn Steels, Stan Van Tricht and Mauro Schmid. 21-year-old Ethan Vernon was due to make his debut for the team in the race too, but he has unfortunately withdrawn due to knee pain.
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