Mark Cavendish Eyeing Green Points Jersey in Tour de France 2011, Not Stage Victories

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07/1/2011| 0 comments
by AP and Roadcycling.com
Mark Cavendish (Team HTC-HighRoad). Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Mark Cavendish (Team HTC-HighRoad). Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.

Mark Cavendish Eyeing Green Points Jersey in Tour de France 2011, Not Stage Victories

Mark Cavendish claims he will be more than happy to give up a couple of stage victories in this year's Tour de France, if that means he will finally win his first green points jersey.

Mark Cavendish claims he will be more than happy to give up a couple of stage victories in this year's Tour de France, if that means he will finally win his first green points jersey.

Cavendish has won a formidable 15 Tour de France stages over the last three years, but the sprint champion's coveted green jersey has eluded the 26-year-old British rider. That, rather than living up to the expectations of collecting more stage wins, is his main goal this time around.

"I always set my own standards and goals, that's how I work. I don't let outside expectation dictate how I ride," Cavendish said Friday on the eve of the race. "That's how I've always been. We've set targets for this Tour de France and we'll try and get them, despite what people say we should - or what they reckon we should - do."

Cavendish was second last year behind Italian Alessandro Petacchi by 11 points, and second by 10 points to two-time Tour de France sprint and points champion Thor Hushovd of Norway in 2009. Cavendish pulled out before the Alpine stages in 2008 not wanting to combat the mountains and to conserve energy for the Olympic Games.

Despite having never won the green jersey, Cavendish is widely considered the fastest sprinter with a brute force that sets him apart from Petacchi, Hushovd and other challengers like the American Tyler Farrar.

Cavendish won a remarkable four stages of his first Tour de France in 2008, six in 2009 and five last year - a prodigious feat other sprinters spend a whole career struggling to match. Cavendish still has several more years to keep piling them up.

Yet, he doesn't want to be seen as some kind of machine.

"I can tell you now, the ignorance of some people is going to mean that if I don't win four of five stages (this Tour) it's going to be a failure," Cavendish said. "If you win four or five stages that's not a normal thing, that's an incredible thing to do.

"To expect us to do that - and if we don't that it's a failure - (is) an ignorant way of looking at things."

Changes to the rules at this year's Tour de France will see green sprint points allocated differently.

The main change means there will be only one intermediate sprint on each stage, with 20 points available to the rider who wins that - as opposed to six points in previous years when there were more intermediate sprints.

"Obviously it's a tougher Tour this year," Cavendish said. "The intermediate stages are tougher than they have been."

The course layout also has uphill finishes on the first and fourth stages - an additional chore for sprinters.

"It's just about adapting, and professional cyclists have to do that. I've been working hard and I'm confident in my preparations," Cavendish added and continued "It will change depending on the style of the running and who's up for that day ... I'm going good, this is the big race of the

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