Mark Cavendish vs Marcel Kittel: sprinters in top form as Tour de France draws nearer

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Mark Cavendish vs Marcel Kittel: sprinters in top form as Tour de France draws nearer

Rivals flying in preparation for Harrogate yellow jersey battle

Though they have competed in the same race on two occassions this season, the eagerly anticipated sprinting battle between the pair has failed to materialise.

At the Dubai Tour, Kittel was in the better shape – his team-mates setting him up for a superb stage two win while Omega Pharma-Quickstep struggled, while Cavendish was not in contention on the following two stages either.

Marcel Kittel and Mark Cavendish share a mutual admiration, but have not raced together often this season. pic: Luca Bettini/RCS Sport/Dubai Tour

At Tirreno-Adriatico, meanwhile, a crash denied Kittel on the first road stage – his angry bike toss captured on camera – when Cavendish finished 17th.

On the penultimate stage of the race, it was Cannondale who accounted for Kittel’s chances – their furious pace in the bunch causing the German and his team-mate to lose contact at the back.

By comparison, Omega Pharma-Quickstep and a resurgent Cavendish stayed comfortably in the bunch before bursting into the life in stunning fashion in the final kilometre.

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