Mark Cavendish MBE is a hot property in Britain. In last year’s Tour de France he won five stages, taking his career victories in the TdF to 20 and in the process becoming the first Briton ever to win the green jersey. He also set a record as the first ever cyclist to win the final stage, along the Champs-Élysées, three years in succession.
It was also the year when he and his model girlfriend Peta Todd had their first child and Cavendish was voted as BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year, despite cycling being a relatively minor sport.
This year he is opting to give less focus to Le Tour, though, so as to focus on the Olympics.
“I will win stages but I may not win five,” Cavendish admitted. He will be there, but having lost weight and power as part of his team’s approach to training he is not certain he will be as dominant as he previously has been.
Instead he is prepared to throw it all at the Games in London. In his profession there are many events that come before London, but Cavendish is not fazed. “The Olympics does not rank highly, it is not a prestigious event. But as a Great Britain athlete to compete for the flag I was born under, it is a big thing.”
This may not be music to the ears of Bradley Wiggins, though, who also cycles for team Sky.
Wiggins is being talked about as a serious contender to win the Tour de France. Fourth in 2009 the rider has had a sensational year, triumphing at the Paris-Nice event, the Tour de Romandie and the Criterium du Dauphine. He was also third at the Volta ao Algarve.
He has defeated Cadel Evans this year and with former winner Andy Schleck out with a broken pelvis brother Franck looks slightly more exposed as part of Team Radioshack.
However, with Mark Cavendish admitting he is less than at full capacity to sprint and with teammate and Olympic medallist Geraint Thomas dropping out of the tour altogether to focus on the Games, Wiggins has his work cut out.
He is not shy of confidence, though. “If I put my full energy into it and as much commitment as I did on the track in the Olympics, there’s no reason why we couldn’t get better than fourth and maybe win,” he reportedly said.
The 99th Tour de France starts on Saturday the 30th of June and runs until Sunday the 22nd of July.