World champion Mark Cavendish believes completing the 2012 Tour de France, with a possible fourth consecutive stage win on the Champs Elysees, won’t hamper his ambition to win Olympic gold in London. Cavendish has 20 stage wins from the world’s premier bike race in the past five years including the past three final stages on the French capital’s world famous avenue. Despite the Olympic road race taking place six days after the Tour’s finale on July 22, the Isle of Man rider is not changing his plans.
“I’m going to Paris,” Cavendish told reporters after the 2012 race route was unveiled Tuesday. I think most of the guys who are favorites for the Olympics will be riding the Tour de France anyway, so it shouldn’t put me in a bad position. I have to finish the Tour de France if I want to win on the Champs-Elysees. Then it’s five (six) days (to the Olympics). It is how it is, so I’ll try and go my best for four weeks.”
In July Cavendish won the race’s green jersey for the sprinters’ points competition for the first time and capped his year by being crowned Britain’s first world road race champion in 46 years at Copenhagen. Now wearing the coveted rainbow stripes, the Manxman is one of the hottest properties in cycling and he will be racing alongside yellow jersey contender Brad Wiggins after signing for Team Sky recently.
Despite the inherent risk of being part of a Tour de France team which has ambitions to win both jerseys, the last to do so was the Telekom team with Jan Ullrich and Erik Zabel in 1997, Cavendish believes their ambitions can co-exist peacefully.
“Me and Brad speak every day. If there were problems between us then at least one of us wouldn’t be at Sky next year,” added Cavendish, whose current team HTC-Highroad will fold at year’s end. “I’ve joined Sky because I think they can perform well. Brad’s at Sky because he thinks they can perform well. Sky have ambition, so what’s the problem? Teams have done it before.”
After his maiden green jersey triumph, Cavendish will be confident of defending the title in 2012. And with 96.1 km of time trials in the 2012 race, he believes Sky also have the power to put Wiggins into the yellow jersey.
“It’s a challenge for a lot of teams and teams have done it in the past. We’ve got the horsepower to do it, so we’re going to try and get green and yellow,” he added, claiming the race route suits Wiggins well. “There are 96 kilometers of time trialling over three weeks, but there are some steep climbs. He’ll have to be on super, super form, which he will be at the Tour de France.”