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

Rivals flying in preparation for Harrogate yellow jersey battle

Mark Cavendish knows a good lead-out train when he sees one – he used to profit from the services of one of the best there has ever been while at HTC.

And the men tasked with leading him to success this season are slowly forming a team to rival that one.

Mark Renshaw and Alessandro Petacchi are two of the best in the business, and the manner of the team’s success at Tirreno-Adriatico prove they are cooking on gas at the moment.

Marcel Kittel celebrates another day in the red jersey of points leader with his Giant-Shimano team-mates on the podium. pic: ©Sirotti

Cavendish lavished them with praise in Turkey too, where textbook lead-out followed textbook lead-out.

Petacchi’s speed on stage eight allowed Cavendish to sit in and wait to attack until near the very end, while stage four – victory number three for Cavendish – came after the team had led for the entirety of the final kilometre.

“They were phenomenal,” Cavendish said post-stage. “The leadout was just another example of the perfect job by the guys.

“Alessandro Petacchi and Mark Renshaw were super-fast and they delivered me in the best position to launch the sprint.”

For Kittel on the other hand, his own sprint train is slowly starting to bear fruit as the likes of John Degenkolb – himself no mean sprinter – and Tom Veelers continue to click.

Mark Cavendish rounds off a textbook lead-out at Tirreno-Adriatico (pic: Sirotti)

Luka Mezgec is in the team at the Giro too, and as all gain more experience it is no exaggeration to say they could be the next big thing.

Kittel was proud, he said, to have been alongside some of his lead-out for all of his Grand Tour success to date.

And on their current form, you would fancy there to be plenty more to come.

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