Cav - Tough days ahead
Mark Cavendish believes he is fighting on several fronts as he tries to hold onto the Tour de France's green jersey until Paris.
Last Updated: 19/07/11 8:36am
Mark Cavendish believes he is fighting on several fronts as he tries to hold onto the Tour de France's green jersey until the end of the race in Paris.
The star sprinter won his fourth stage of the 2011 Tour in Montpellier on Sunday to take a 37-point lead in the race for victory in the points classification.
Must he must still survive three days in the high Alps, where he will be hoping merely to finish inside the time limit and continue his participation in the race.
Cavendish has had to fight off allegations of hanging on to team cars during the mountain stages and now says he is taking extreme measures to quieten the claims.
"I'm scared to even collect a bottle from the car now in case someone gets a photo of me just grabbing a bottle and accusing me of hanging on," the Manxman said on the Tour's second rest day.
"That's how paranoid I am of people accusing me of hanging on."
Cavendish knows he will have to suffer over the coming climbs but his pleased to have HTC-Highroad team-mate Bernhard Eisel to keep him company at the back of the pack.
"It's just about suffering. It will end at some point, whether you're in or out of the time limit. I'm lucky I've got Bernie with me," he said
He added: "The other day was pretty touch and go. The grupetto were going full gas so we couldn't catch them. But we caught the grupetto at the bottom of Plateau de Beille and we got in."
Cavendish believes he will have to give it everything on Friday's 109.5-kilometre 19th stage from Modane Valfrejus to Alpe-d'Huez to make it inside the cut-off point.
He said: "We've got to go full gas for 109km, that's the order of the day on stage 19. It doesn't matter how fast they go in front, we can't go any faster or slower, just full gas.
"It's going to be hard to get through those stages, even the one before it (on Thursday), which finishes at the Galibier, they're going to be hard days."