LIÉGE, Belgium (AFP) — Sky’s Mark Cavendish has played down his chances of claiming a second successive green jersey as he focuses on winning the Olympic road race in London.
The three-week epic begins with a 6.4km prologue in Liège on Saturday, and teammate Bradley Wiggins is a favorite to succeed BMC’s Cadel Evans as champion.
Cavendish won his maiden green jersey in the points competition in 2011. He has won 20 stages, a tally unrivaled for a sprinter.
Points for the green jersey can be won at the intermediate sprint on each day’s stage as well as at the finish line.
But with Sky committed to Wiggins’ yellow-jersey quest, Cavendish has admitted he is less likely to go for points at the intermediate sprints, which were introduced last year and added some extra drama to the day’s proceedings.
Instead, he is taking it day by day as he heads towards his Olympic goal.
“Stage wins isn’t enough to win it,” he said. “You have go for the intermediates. Whether you’re going to limit your losses or win them flat out, that’s the tactic you’ve got to go for .
“I haven’t got my eyes on green, to be honest, but there’s always a chance.”
In training for the Olympic road race, to be held six days after the Tour ends in Paris and which features nine ascents of Box Hill in Surrey, Cavendish has lost 4 kilos, according to his team.
This has cost him some power, theoretically boosting the chances of his sprint rivals. But it also means he could be more competitive in stages where undulating terrain might otherwise have ruled him out of contention.
“I’ve got other goals than the Tour de France; it’s going to be a long July,” Cavendish said. “I should be at a lot more finishes than I have been in the past. I lost a bit of power, but there’s no point having power if you’re not going to get to the finish. I’d like to be at the finish before I worry.
“I might not absolutely dominate the sprints but I should be there or thereabouts.”
If it means he plays a part in helping Wiggins’ quest for glory, Cavendish appears happy to simply add stage wins when the opportunity arises.
“I probably won’t win as much personally, in stages, but to be part of a team that holds real ambitions of winning the Tour de France overall, it’s an honor for any bike rider,” Cavendish said.
“In Bradley we’ve got the biggest chance we’ll ever have as a nation, with a British team and with a British rider. It’s exciting to go in and follow that ambition.”