Mark Renshaw preparing to support Mark Cavendish in Dubai

Mark Cavendish and Mark Renshaw, Tour of Qatar 2011, stage four

Marcel Kittel and Mark Cavendish will clash for the first time this season at the inaugural Dubai Tour that is a big target for the latter's Omega Pharma-Quick Step team.

Mark Renshaw is currently using the Tour Down Under as preparation for the February race where he will formally reprise his role as Cavendish's chief pilot. Renshaw famously paired with the Manxman at HTC-Highroad but left his service at the end of the 2011 season to pursue opportunities as a marquee sprinter at incarnations of Belkin.

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Sophie Smith is an Australian journalist, broadcaster and author of Pain & Privilege: Inside Le Tour. She follows the WorldTour circuit, working for British, Australian and US press, and has covered 10 Tours de France.