Cavendish has won 25 stages at the Tour, putting him third on the list of all-time winners, but last year’s race was a bitter disappointment when he was forced to withdraw after a crash on the first stage.
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“I’d love to win the green,” he told Cycling Weekly. “But the way to do it is just to win stages. There’s no other tactic.”
“The first nine days across Holland, Belgium and northern France really suit our team down the ground,” the sprinter said. “The mix of short, punchy climbs like the Mur de Huy, cross-winds, the cobbles, small narrow roads… Etixx – Quick-Step is the team most qualified to do well in that first week.”
As well as changes to the points competition, this year’s Tour also features time bonuses for stage wins. Cavendish believes they will give his team to the opportunity to challenge for the yellow jersey in the early stages of the race, despite Etixx’s lack of a GC contender.
The 30-year-old said: “It’s the first year since I turned pro that the Tour de France will have time bonuses. If we can limit our losses in the prologue then there’s the opportunity to maybe get the yellow jersey for the first week.”
This year’s route begins with a 13.7km time trial in Utrecht on July 4, before climbing the famous Mur de Huy on stage three. Stage four includes the cobbles between Seraing (Belgium) and Cambrai (France), but the route is generally considered to be one that will suit climbers best.