• Mark Cavendish always draws attention (AAP) (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Tour de France sprinters rarely if ever stipulate ambitions to win multiple stages at any given edition of the race but team-mates of renowned fast man Mark Cavendish have gone against trend this season.
By
Sophie Smith

4 Jul 2015 - 7:15 AM 

Cavendish crashed out of the Tour on day one last year so with a strong Etixx-QuickStep team riding in support is especially bloody-minded to make an early impact in the first road stage on Sunday. 

“He doesn’t want to put a number on it but I know what his objectives are and they’ll still be around those figures of three, four, five stages,” Australian lead-out specialist Renshaw told journalists at a pre-race press conference in Utrecht, The Netherlands on Friday. 

The race has fewer flat stages for pure sprinters this season with more undulating and even cobbled terrain featuring in the opening week where Cavendish should still be competitive, especially with a classics specialist team. 

The 30-year-old showed an appetite for such ground at the British national road championships last week where he dug deep on a cobbled, uphill kick to finish second behind defending champion Peter Kennaugh (Sky) in a performance that was widely praised. 

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Cavendish deferred questions related to the absence of Marcel Kittel (Giant-Alpecin), the German who has succeeded him as the pure sprinter of reference the past two seasons, choosing to focus on his own effort on the eve of the 102nd Tour. 

“There's nearly 200 riders that will be starting on the start line. If you take any of them away that increases my chances of winning. Etixx-QuickStep's here with a strong team to look to challenge over 21 days,” Cavendish said. 

“I crashed out on the first stage of last year's Tour de France in Harrogate and I missed the race a lot. I was in superb form and to sit at home and watch the race wasn't easy. We've looked at trying to come into the Tour de France in the same form I was in last year and hopefully get back to winning ways.”

Renshaw on Friday was not just focused on stage success via Cavendish, noting Tony Martin’s potential to take the first yellow jersey of the race in Saturday’s prologue and a cohort of other strong team-mates including world champion Michal Kwiatkowski. 

“I’d love if Tony wins the TT, Cav wins first road stage and on the Champs Elysees - start on a high and end on a high - whatever happens in between I’ll forget and take that away as a good memory,” he said. 

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