MARK Cavendish hopes to swap the British champion’s jersey for the Tour de France leader’s yellow jersey on Saturday in Corsica when the 100th edition of cycling’s most fabled race begins.
The 28-year-old from the Isle of Man yesterday won a first senior British title in Glasgow, earning the right to wear the white jersey with red and blue bands for the next 12 months, but he hopes to spend just the weekend’s opening 213km stage from Porto Vecchio to Bastia in those colours.
A 24th Tour stage win of his career would take Cavendish into the maillot jaune of the overall leader for Sunday’s second stage, five weeks after he won five stages of the Giro d’Italia and claimed the points classification in Brescia. It is almost 50 years since the last sprint opportunity to claim the yellow jersey and Cavendish is relishing the prospect of completing his haul of leaders and points jerseys in Grand Tours.
“It’s a big, big goal and a huge motivation for a team built around stage wins,” said Cavendish. “It’s a strong group of sprinters this year. To get a win won’t be easy, especially in the first stage of the Tour.
“I’ve altered my training to be able to go well in that first stage. We’ll go for it, but you have to show the Tour de France respect – nothing’s a given. We’ll try our best and see what happens.”