Sprint king Mark Cavendish hopes to seize a second chance to wear the Tour de France’s fabled yellow jersey after the full details of Yorkshire’s Grand Depart were revealed yesterday.
Omega Pharma-Quickstep star Cavendish was among the favourites for last year’s opening stage in Corsica, but missed out on the maillot jaune after becoming stuck behind a crash in the final kilometres.
It meant he was unable to complete his collection of Grand Tour leaders’ jerseys, having previously worn the Vuelta a Espana’s red jersey in 2010 and the Giro d’Italia’s maglia rosa in 2009, 2011 and again in April this year.
However, with a flat stage ending in his mother’s home town of Harrogate next year, the Manx Missile is determined to mark the second British Grand Depart of his career in style, after 2007’s London start.
“I’m super excited — especially since the first stage finishes in my mother’s hometown of Harrogate,” he said.
“I have a lot of family who still live there and I spent many times a year there as a child so I’m excited to try for a sprint finish there and have a second attempt at a yellow jersey.
“It didn’t work out this year, but it would be brilliant to pull it on in front of a home crowd in 2014.
“For the second time in my career the Tour de France is visiting the UK. To think I would do it twice in eight years – it’s something I wouldn’t have thought about growing up.”
Cavendish attended yesterday’s Tour presentation at the Palais de Congres, Paris, where a route containing five summit finishes, a cobbled fifth stage and just one time trial was revealed.
But despite the ferocity of some of the climbs, Cavendish insists he is excited about the route and the prospect of adding to his 25 career stage wins.
“The third stage [Cambridge to London] should be a sprint too,” he explained. “It’s a couple kilometers from one of my homes and I know the road around there very well.
“It’s an iconic finish in London again before coming into France and then into Belgium, the home of Omega Pharma – Quick-Step.
“We’ll be super motivated, especially the stage with the nine sectors of cobbles. That should suit our team down to the ground.
“So, we’ve got a great first week, it involves quite a few sprints. We’ll be hopefully going for those this year.”
He added: “It’s a difficult route this year with the mountains, but it’s been getting harder every year.
“But as I get older I find I’m not as nervous about reaching Paris. Obviously I won four times on the Champs-Élysées, didn’t win this year, but for sure we’ll go back next year and try to retain that title.
“We’re super excited for next year and hopefully Omega Pharma – Quick-Step can be successful.”