It’s been a really successful opening weekend for Dimension Data’s Mark Cavendish as he won the first stage and took the Yellow Jersey and then on stage three he equalled Bernard Hinault’s record of 28 Tour de France stages.
At the start of the season the ‘Manx Missile’ said he wanted to win the Maillot Jaune, win a medal at the Rio Olympics, and then later in the year he wants to wear the Rainbow Jersey once again; and at the moment it looks like he could well complete those goals.
Of course it is a huge ask, but Cav’s relentless desire goes a long way, and if there is one person in the pro-peloton you don’t write off, that is Cavendish.
The opening stage, like today’s stage was suited to the sprinters; and on early form it looks like the 31-year-old has the beating of Marcel Kittel and Andre Greipel.
Despite having a great Tour start, Cavendish insists the sprint rules don’t favour the ‘pure’ sprinters
Even though Cavendish has taken two stages already and is currently in control of the Green Jersey, he says it is unlikely he will wear come the end of the Tour, when the peloton rolls down the Champs-Elysees.
The rules of the intermediate sprints are confusing, as they allow sprints to take place in the high mountain stages; and for the ‘pure’ sprinters they are unable to contest those, as they are just not cut out for the high Alpine passes.
But one man, who is suited, is Peter Sagan. The Tinkoff-Saxo rider has won the Green Jersey in the past four editions of the Tour.
The current Rainbow Jersey holder has a unique build for a cyclist; he is able to sprint ferociously fast, but he can also climb well, hence the reason he was dominated the Green Jersey competition for the past four years.
Speaking about the Green Jersey, Cavendish said: “One hundred per cent, I can’t get to Paris with the green jersey.”
Cavendish has never been one to get over the mountains with the main bulk of the peloton; but Sagan has shown he can hang with the best when the race hits the mountains.
“Once we get in the mountains and Peter Sagan gets all these 20 points while we are in the gruppetto it’s way out of anyone’s chance, even Kristoff’s,” Cavendish feels for the sprinters as Sagan will look to take advantage of the intermediate sprints in the mountains.
It might be time for the organisers to have a look at the sprints; as the Green Jersey is primarily for the ‘sprinters’ and if they can’t compete for the sprints in the mountains, it kind of defeats the object.
Cavendish concluded by saying: “Sagan will win the green as long as the intermediate sprints stay as they are.”