Cavendish – “I’d like to win as much as possible”


There are GC teams and then there are teams like Omega Pharma Quickstep who have built their team around British rider Mark Cavendish and his aim, “to win as much as possible”

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Cavendish – “I’d like to win as much as possible”

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There are two British riders with a lot of pressure on their shoulders, defending champion Chris Froome and the Worlds best sprinter of the last decade, Mark Cavendish.

The one to feel that pressure the most on Saturday for stage 1 will be Mark Cavendish. The stage finishes in the birthplace of his mother and is a place Cav played in as a child before riding the Tour de France was even a dream in his head. Not only does Cav know the importance of the stage but so does his rivals. And to top it off, the winner will have the Yellow jersey.

Speaking at his team’s press conference, he said “It’s incredible. For the second time in my career, the UK has the grand depart of the Tour de France, the biggest bike race in the world. To think the first days are in Yorkshire and the first stage finishes in my mother’s town of Harrogate is really exciting”.

“I remember being in Harrogate many summers. My grand parents live here, my uncle still lives here. It’s nice to return and look around at the places I knew when I was young. The support of not just Yorkshire, but the whole grand depart has been phenomenal”.

“But, it’s not a given that we will come away with the yellow jersey. Things can always go right or wrong at the Tour de France”.

“There’s 200 riders on the start line almost, and every one of them would like to win the yellow jersey. It’s a big honor. The media focus happens to be on me because my mother’s from Harrogate. I’d like to win the first stage and Omega Pharma – Quick- Step has a strong team, but the Tour de France is 21 days long and it doesn’t finish after the first stage or we leave Yorkshire. We’ve got an incredibly strong Omega Pharma – Quick-Step team here and we’d like to do well across the three weeks”.


Photo: © OPQS / Tim de Waele

“I’m incredibly lucky to have won 25 stages at the Tour de France. It’s the biggest bike race in the world and to come here with the successful teams I’ve been part of has been monumental to my career. Sure I’d like to win as much as possible, as much as I can. One win in a rider’s career can be the highlight of their career, not just one win a year. Omega Pharma – Quick-Step came here last year and won four stages. That’s a successful Tour, that’s about one out of every five stages. We want to come here and repeat that. We want to be successful and win WorldTour stages. There are strong riders on other teams who also want to do well, but we’re all really motivated to try and get good results”.

“When I came weeks ago to recon the course, the vibe that was around here was phenomenal. It was something I’ve never seen. The support from people, the people who do or don’t know about bike racing, it’s been absolutely tremendous. I don’t think anyone can really anticipate how big it’s going to be this weekend and I’m looking forward to savoring that.

“I feel in good condition for this Tour de France. A lot of guys who were at the Tour de Suisse got sick but hopefully I am over that. I’ve had nine wins this year and the team is close to 50 already. We’ve been super successful all season, racing across the board, and put a strong team together for the Tour de France that will try and do well over these three weeks.”

The team, built around delivering Cav to the sweetspot of every sprint stage to give him the best chance of a stage victory is not just about the Manxman. Other riders harbour ambitions like Poland’s Michal Kwiatkowski. “Of course it would be nice to wear the white jersey during the race as I did last year. But honestly, I want to focus on continuing my growth as a rider at a grand tour. This is my second Tour de France. I came here to specifically help Mark Cavendish and gain experience. That’s my goal”.


Photo: © OPQS / Tim de Waele

Cav’s team also has a rider who is the best time trial rider in the World, Tony Martin. The triple World Champion has won Grand Tour stages and says of his team for the 2014 Tour, “In all the years, we always had a really good team at the start. We always were successful. This year is the same, so I think the morale is high for being present in all the actions that are possible. We have worked well as a team all year and think we put together a good group for this grand tour”.

Tony though is focused on his team role and admits, when it comes to the time trial late in the race, “honestly I didn’t see the parcours yet. I only saw the profile online. It looks quite nice. Hilly, but not too many mountains. It really can suit me”.

And finally, an ace in the team is Niki Terpstra, winner of Paris-Roubaix. Is that a goal for him he was asked? “I think we cannot compare this stage with the one-day classic Paris-Roubaix”.

“Roubaix has 26 cobblestone section, while this stage we have eight half sections. I’m going to do my best to get in front, but don’t expect it to be like a classic. But I’m happy to be back in the region. I like to race there. It’s going to be a good race, especially the last 20 kilometers.”

“The cobbles suit me well, but of course there are other stages for us. Of course the main goal is to be there for Mark, but we will always do our best to be present if there is a moment to get a good result”.


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