Mark Cavendish expects more of the same in 2010 despite losing a few key components of his set-up train at Columbia-HTC.
The winner of six stages in the 2009 Tour de France, the Manxster says his goals next year will be much as they were this year: win and win a lot.
“The green jersey will be the goal for next year,” Cavendish told VeloNews in a recent interview. “For sure, it’s a priority, but I am not going to sacrifice wins to sprint for points. At end of the day, I should have won the jersey this year with the wins I had.”
Cavendish barn-stormed through the 2009 Tour, winning six stages, but fell short of winning the coveted sprinter’s green jersey.
Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam) and Cavendish dueled for the jersey, with the Norwegian coming out on tops thanks in part to a daring solo attack across the Alps and also due to a controversial relegation of Cavendish in stage 14.
Cavendish – who is wrapping up a team training camp in Spain’s Canary Islands ─ said the 2010Tour route serves up a tough challenge in his bid to win the green jersey. After a week of relatively flat stages ideal for Cav’s kick, the final two weeks are light on sprints and heavy on climbs.
“Overall, it’s a harder Tour than last year,” he said. “There’s only one time trial, that’s one less ‘rest’ day for me, if you get what I mean. There are five sprints, all in the first week, possibly eight total. I will train to win in the first week and then make it to Paris. It’s not like I am going home after a week. Let’s hope for the best in the first week and then survive the mountains to hold on for the jersey competition.”
With 10 Tour stage wins in the past two Tours, all the pressure will now be on Cavendish to deliver on the green jersey. He’s expected to win sprints, so the next challenge is the points jersey.
But the combative Cavendish says winning is what it’s all about.
“In the end of the day, I will never sacrifice wins just to get points,” he said. “It will be hard to better than six next year. Never say never, but it’s unlikely. Every time I try to win, whether that means I win one stage or 20, I always try to win.”
Despite the departure of such riders as George Hincapie, Marcus Burghardt and Michael Barry, riders who consistently helped Cavendish in the sprints, he remains confident in the team for 2010.
The core of the Columbia sprint squad remains intact, with Bernard Eisel and Mark Renshaw remaining as the sharp end of the Cavendish train.
“We have some new riders coming on next year and we’ll see what’s best for the team,” he said. “We also have some great developing GC riders, with Tony (Martin), he’ll be in contention next year. I’m not worried about it.”