Mark Cavendish looking for luck to win Tour stage
Düsseldorf (Germany) (AFP)
Mark Cavendish admitted on Thursday he'll need to get lucky to win a stage at the Tour de France, which starts in Dusseldorf on Saturday.
Cavendish is second only to Belgian great Eddy Merckx in number of Tour stage victories and said in a recent interview he believes he can overtake the five-time Tour winner's mark of 34.
But, having suffered from glandular fever earlier this year, Cavendish acknowledged that he is not in the best form to tackle the world's toughest bike race.
"Hopefully I'm not sick (any more), I don't think I'm sick. My blood results show I'm over the worst of that," said the 32-year-old Briton, a former world champion.
"In terms of fitness, you have maybe a month off in winter then three months to prepare for the season. I had two months off and then about seven weeks to get ready for the Tour de France.
"Obviously I'm not in the ideal condition but the good thing of being a sprinter is that sometimes you can win on luck.
"If you pick the right wheels and get the right run, there's a chance you can win.
"So it's worth coming here with that chance as a sprinter for the sprint days -- there are a lot of sprint days."
Cavendish, who has 30 stage wins to his name and claimed four last year, admitted he will be trying to keep up with German powerhouse Marcel Kittel in the sprint finishes.
"For sure Marcel Kittel is the man to watch in the sprints. He's got the strongest team, we've seen he usually wins when he's got the strongest team.
"That pressure is on him to deliver, especially with the start in Germany. He looks in good form for that."
Kittel will have a train of team-mates helping set him up for sprints with stage victories the main aim for Quick-Step at this Tour.
But their sprint train struggled last year as Kittel managed only one stage win.
Cavendish, on the other hand, excelled at feeding off hs rivals' sprint trains as his Dimension Data team did not have a comparable outfit specialised in helping him out.
And he said he will adopt the same tactics again this year, targeting Quick-Step in particular.
"I'd be a fucking idiot if I didn't try to ride off strongest team in the race, that's what cycling's about," said Cavendish.
© 2017 AFP