Cavendish hoping for bumper month
June 29, 2012 06:53 am
The next month is all that matters to Mark Cavendish as Bradley Wiggins bids for Tour de France glory before the world champion targets Olympic success.
Cavendish, 20 times a stage winner at the Tour, which begins in Liege on Saturday, is set to sacrifice the defence of the points classification's green jersey he won in 2011 as Team Sky throw their support behind Wiggins' yellow jersey bid.
"Ideally we'd win both, but in any year it's more important to win yellow than green," Cavendish said. "I'm going to experience something different than I ever have before.
"I've never gone in with real ambitions of winning the Tour de France in the team. That's an exciting prospect for any part of your career. It's massive, not just the first British winner, but any British winner. To be part of that it's pretty special."
Cavendish will return to his customary role as team leader for the 250-kilometres Olympic road race on July 28, six days after the Tour concludes in Paris, where Wiggins hopes to stand atop the podium as the first British winner. The 27-year-old added: "The Olympic Games has been my biggest goal this year.
"I've never been so committed, so driven just for one particular block of the year. I've not thought beyond it. This year's just been thinking about this one month, nothing really before, nothing really after."
The additional commitment, including improved climbing and the loss of four kilograms, means Cavendish may not be as prominent this year as he has been in the last four Tours.
The Manxman must carry the momentum from the July 22 conclusion of the Tour - one of sports toughest events and the effects of which Cavendish himself admits usually takes a while to sleep off - into the Olympics, which includes nine ascents of Box Hill in Surrey.
While Team Sky's priority is Wiggins, Cavendish will have company no matter what happens, with Bernhard Eisel beside him as bodyguard. The Austrian signed from HTC-Highroad alongside Cavendish last October and the room-mates will spend almost every hour together for the next three weeks.
Cavendish added: "It's come to the point in the peloton now that if you see Bernie Eisel moving through, people leave space for two people. For the whole day I'm with Bernie. He looks after me all day, every day. He's incredible."
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