Mark Cavendish took aim at the Vuelta a Espana on Sunday, as his Tour of Britain began with a second place finish in Wrexham on stage one.
Cavendish, who was beaten by Sky’s Elia Viviani in the national tour opener, hasn’t competed in the Spanish event since making an early exit from it in 2011.
This is the fifth-year running that the Manxman has competed in the Tour of Britain, something he attributed to the race’s parcours.
“The Vuelta has just become stupid now; 11 mountain-top finishes this year,” he said, speaking to ITV. “One thing for the viewers: sprinters aren’t bad bike riders. You don’t have to go quick uphill to make it a good race, do you know what I mean?
“No-one wants to go to the Vuelta any more unless they crashed out of the Tour de France.
“This is the best race to prepare for the worlds; it’s hard, it’s heavy roads, long stages. And I just hope Mick [Bennett, race director] and the organisers keep it like this, and don’t make it crazy like the Vuelta, because people stop coming then.
“But at the minute I like to come here. I like to race in front of the home fans. And I do like to win but unfortunately that didn’t happen today.”
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Cavendish also admitted that paying too much attention to Lotto-Soudal’s André Greipel in the Welsh town’s finishing straight allowed Viviani clean air to the line.
He added: “In the last straight, I knew it was going to be a slog, and actually when I kicked off Mark [Renshaw, his Etixx-Quick Step team-mate] I kicked really well.
“The line was just not coming quick enough. I looked over, could sense Greipel there and I think I sensed too much of Greipel.
“If I’d kept the left hand shut maybe I would have got it, but I was too concerned with the right and Elia came through on the line.
“Actually I’m pretty happy. I’m super happy with the team but obviously it’s disappointing
not to win.”