Mark Cavendish has outlined his targets for 2014, with pulling on the yellow jersey after stage one of the Tour de France top of the Manx Missile’s hit list for the forthcoming season.
Cavendish, who will start his season at the Tour de San Luis on January 20-26, has amassed 25 Tour de France stages to date but is yet to wear the maillot jaune of race leader.
But with first stage of the 2014 race expected to end in a bunch sprint in Harrogate, the home town of Cavendish’s mother, the Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider is hoping to use local knowledge to claim victory on July 5 and become the seventh Brit to wear the yellow jersey.
“For sure the Tour de France is my biggest goal for the season,” said Cavendish.
“It’s the second time in my career that it starts in the UK. In 2007 when it started in London, cycling wasn’t even popular and the amount of people out watching the race was incredible. So with the profile of cycling in the UK now, I think with the Tour de France starting there again it will be beyond words.
I’m super excited, especially with the first stage finishing in my mother’s hometown of Harrogate. The finishing straight is a straight I know very well. I spent a lot of time there as a child and hopefully it provides a bunch sprint.
“I’d like a chance to win the yellow jersey. I haven’t yet worn that and it’d be nice to wear that again.”
Cavendish has been training in Calpe, Spain, with his Omega Pharma-QuickStep team-mates and the squad’s first camp of the year saw the 28-year-old reunited with Mark Renshaw, who has joined for the team on a two-year deal.
Renshaw was Cavendish’s leadout man during his most prolific years at HTC-Highroad, when he won 16 stages and the green jersey from 2009 to 2011, and Cavendish is ‘super excited’ to be back with his old partner in crime.
“I’m super excited to have Mark Renshaw back for my leadouts,” said Cavendish. “He’s a really good friend of mine and one of the most gifted leadout men in the peloton.”
Alessandro Petacchi also joined Omega Pharma-QuickStep midway through the 2013 season in order to bolster Cavendish’s leadout train and the Manxman admits he has a wealth of talent at his disposal to make a bid for a second Tour de France green jersey.
“As always I have to go and compete [at the Tour] and win consistently,” said Cavendish. “We’ve got an incredibly strong team this year for that. In fact, we’ve almost got too many riders to choose from. We’re in the best position. We’ve got so many riders to make a formation of nine from to win at the Tour. I’m excited to go, especially since it starts in the UK again.”
Omega Pharma-QuickStep team manager Patrick Lefevere added: “Mark Cavendish is in his second year with OPQS, so he knows the riders and the team he has around him. He will once again be a leader of the team and for sure he is ready to have another great season after an already outstanding 2013.”