Mark Cavendish is in a ‘must win’ situation to take the Tour de France’s green jersey. His next chance comes tomorrow, the last of three possible sprint stages.
“We can’t go and try to collect every point on the road, that’s not realistic,” said HTC-Columbia’s sports director, Rolf Aldag, “The main goal is try to win stages and then the jersey comes or it doesn’t.”
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After a rough start to the Tour de France, Cavendish won two stages and seems to be back up to the winning ways that gained him a remarkable six stage wins last year. However, time is running out for Cavendish to make up his 39-point deficit to leader Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam), who leads by 124 to 85.
“If Cav wins and Thor doesn’t do anything, then that’s the only way we can be back in the game. It’s not going to happen if Cav wins and Thor gets fourth.”
Organisers award 35 points for the win and the following points for second through 25th: 30, 26, 24, 22, 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. In addition to Hushovd’s win at Arenberg, he has consistently finished in the top places for points.
Cavendish survived the last stages through the Jura and Alpine mountains and he is now ready for the challenge.
“I had some great guys around me and I could draw you an image of Bernie Eisel’s calves right now – I’ve seen a lot of them in the last few days. It was just about getting through it,” said Cavendish this morning.
He said that he is aiming for a win in tomorrow 184.5-kilometre stage to Bourg-Les-Valence.
“It’s the first sprint day for a few days and we’ll do our best for a win.”
Aldag added that Cavendish will also try on the stages to Bordeaux and Paris, the last two chances for sprinters. Even without more wins, though, he said that Cavendish should be satisfied.
“Any other rider would be happy with only one stage in the Tour. He already has won two, so it cannot be considered a disaster.”
Cavendish started the Tour de France with the goal to win the green jersey, but with Aldag he had to re-assess after missing out in the first sprint stages. Regardless of winning the green jersey, they will re-focus after the Tour de France and aim for the rainbow jersey at the World Championships on October 3 in Geelong, Australia.
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