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Cavendish refusing to talk up yellow jersey chances

July 4, 2014 09:21 am

Mark Cavendish is not usually the defensive sort - but he's making no promises about snatching the Tour de France's yellow jersey in his mother's home town of Harrogate this weekend.

The British sprinter has won 25 tour stages in the last six years and won the points classification in Paris three years ago. But the fabled maillot jaune is still absent from his impressive palmarès.

Becoming the seventh Briton to lead the Tour - following Tom Simpson, Chris Boardman, Sean Yates, David Millar, Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome - has been a long held ambition but the normally confident Cavendish has gone quiet in his predictions.

"It would be nice to wear the yellow jersey because I've not yet done that," he said.

"It's not a given. There's 200 bike riders, almost, on the start line and every one of those would like to wear the yellow jersey.

"Also the Tour de France is 21 days long. It doesn't begin and end in Yorkshire. It just so happens that the media attention is on me because my mum is from Harrogate."

Cavendish is clearly wanting to manage expectations about his chances on Saturday, later tweeting:  "Was asked the same question, worded differently, 6times. I answered the same question, worded the same, 6times."

However, he believes he is in form to challenge. Last year he came into the race feeling the effects of a demanding Giro d'Italia, which this year he skipped, and suffering from a virus. Edging closer to Eddy Merckx's record of 34 stage wins remains the ultimate goal

“I feel in good condition,” he added. “Like a lot of the guys during the Tour de Suisse I got sick but I hope I am over that. I have nine wins this year and the team has close to 50 already. We have been super successful this season. Hopefully I am in the best condition possible to do well for the next three weeks.

“It’s incredible that for the second time in my career the UK has the Grand Départ of the Tour de France, the biggest race of the world."

© Sportsbeat 2013