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Page last updated at 17:31 GMT, Thursday, 24 June 2010 18:31 UK

Mark Cavendish upbeat on Tour de France chances

Tour de France 2010
Start: 3 July, Rotterdam Finish: 25 July, Paris
Coverage: Listen to the final hour of every stage on the BBC Sport website (UK only), with selected stages on BBC 5 live sports extra; Watch live on Eurosport and ITV4; Live text commentary each day on BBC Sport website

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Cavendish focused on Tour green jersey

Mark Cavendish is confident he can win the sprinters' green jersey in the Tour de France in July, despite struggling for form early in the season.

Last year he won six stages but was beaten to the overall points prize by Norwegian Thor Hushovd.

"Six stage wins should secure the green jersey and I didn't get it last year so nothing's certain but I'm confident I've got good form," he told BBC Sport.

"My team's going very well and we're focused on the green jersey."

The event begins in Rotterdam on 3 July and Cavendish is the sole sprinter named in HTC-Columbia's nine-man squad, with rival André Greipel left out.

It's going to be difficult for Cavendish to win the green jersey

Sean Kelly
Three-time green jersey winner

"We wanted a strong team to support Mark Cavendish and winning the green jersey," said manager Rolf Aldag.

"Mark won six stages of the Tour de France last year and we have faith he will be highly successful in 2010."

Cavendish has won 10 stages over the last two years but has endured a difficult season so far, including dental problems and fines for his behaviour.

The latest trouble came when he collided with Heinrich Haussler, causing a mass pile up at the Tour de Suisse. Rivals staged a two-minute protest the following day, accusing him of recklessness.

His form has led commentator Sean Kelly, who won the green jersey four times, to question whether Cavendish could take the prize.

There's been more hilly races and fewer bunch sprints, I've suffered and suffered and I'm in good form now

Mark Cavendish

"It's going to be difficult for him to win the green jersey. Will his sprinting be as good as last year in the Tour de France? I don't think so," said Kelly.

"There's a little bit of a doubt about Cavendish - if he can dominate the sprints as much as last year - himself and also his team, whether they're as strong a unit as they were last year, because they've lost a lot of riders."

Cavendish put his lack of victories this year down to a more rounded programme of preparation.

"I lost a lot in the winter so I'll have to change my programme to be good for the Tour de France," he explained.

"There's been more hilly races and fewer bunch sprints, I've suffered and suffered and I'm in good form now."

And he played down the incident in Switzerland, saying: "Everybody got [the other riders'] side of the story but that's what happens and I've just got to take it on the chin."

Four Columbia riders will be detailed to support Cavendish, 25, while two focus on helping Australian Michael Rogers' bid for the overall classification.

606: DEBATE

British-based Team Sky announced their nine-man Tour line-up on Thursday, with Brits Steve Cummings and Geraint Thomas among those supporting leader Bradley Wiggins.

Cavendish is just one of the top British riders who will be in action at the National Championships in Pendle, Lancashire on Sunday.

HTC-Columbia team: Mark Cavendish, Bernhard Eisel, Bert Grabsch, Adam Hansen, Tony Martin, Maxime Monfort, Mark Renshaw, and Kanstantsin Sivtsov.



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see also
Cummings and Thomas get Tour nod
24 Jun 10 |  Cycling
Motor scanners lined up for Tour
18 Jun 10 |  Cycling
Cavendish pulls out of Swiss Tour
17 Jun 10 |  Cycling
Angry riders in Cavendish protest
16 Jun 10 |  Cycling
Cavendish penalised after crash
15 Jun 10 |  Cycling
Cavendish withdrawn after V-sign
30 Apr 10 |  Cycling


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