By Sophie Smith
Mark Cavendish is determined to finish next year's 101st edition of the Tour as the dominant sprinter after being dethroned by quadruple stage winner Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) this year.
Cavendish has apparently begun his pre-season earlier than in recent years, and has spent extra time training on the track.
The Manxman is set to work closely with Alessandro Petacchi as well as pilot Mark Renshaw, who he will call team-mate again from a December training camp. "I'm confident that we will look back in 2014 to a very successful year concerning the sprints," Aldag told CW.
"I don't want to sound arrogant, but with the quality that we have we should beat [all other teams] easily in the lead-out."
"Cavendish had three years at HTC to build [his sprint train] up to perfection," Aldag continued.
"With OPQS, we didn't have a big time-frame to build on it and to work it out. But I think we're moving a lot faster, for example, than we did on HTC, just because we're adding those world-class resources. We don't have to wait for, let's say, the physical ability of riders to grow because those riders are ready."
Cavendish recorded his lowest victory count at this year's Tour since 2008. During the Tour, he faced a difficult challenge with strong sprint opposition from Kittel, André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) and green jersey champion Peter Sagan (Cannondale), who all won stages.
Despite Aldag's confidence in his sprinter and team, he admits there is still work to be done.
"I remember one stage that Cav won," he recalled. "[Lotto Belisol] had us at the fence and locked us in, perfectly done, and then opened the door, and that was the only way we could win it. Nobody was really good but Argos had the courage to wait, wait and wait.
"Kittel was, I mean, he is great, but I still believe he is beatable if the race goes a little bit in a different way, and we don't make the mistakes we have made."
Omega Pharma-Quick Step management was set to meet last week to discuss race programmes. It is unclear whether Cavendish will skip the Giro d'Italia in 2014, as his main rivals did this year.
This article was first published in the November 28 issue of Cycling Weekly. Read Cycling Weekly magazine on the day of release where ever you are in the world International digital edition, UK digital edition. And if you like us, rate us!
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