Mark Cavendish happy with form despite not managing Dubai Tour stage win
By Andy Charles
Last Updated: 05/02/17 11:04am
Mark Cavendish is not at all concerned by his failure to win any stages at the sprinter-friendly Dubai Tour.
Cavendish kicked off his season in the United Arab Emirates but had to settle for a couple of placed finishes behind dominant sprinting rival Marcel Kittel.
Kittel won three of the four stages that were possible in windy Dubai and only finished outside the top 10 in the other after complaining he had been put off after being punched by Astana's Andriy Grivko earlier in the stage.
Cavendish's best finish proved to be on the opening day, when he came home third despite a slow puncture, and he took fourth on Saturday's final stage after being hampered by a gearing issue.
But the Manxman, who rides for Dimension Data, says there are later targets on his mind, most notably when tries to add to his 30 Tour de France stage winners and close the gap on all-time leader Eddy Merckx, who won 34.
"The team has been good in the sprints and my form is better than I thought it would be. It's not that I'm about to win stages of the Tour de France right now but things are good," Cavendish told Cyclingnews.
"In Dubai things were a bit nervous in the sprints, but I know my legs are there. I made the front echelon on stage 3 when it kicked off and that's a good sign.
"I didn't win here last year, Kittel won it but most people don't remember that, they remember what happened and who won at the Tour de France.
"I've done absolutely zero intensity work in training, I've just been riding my bike and really enjoying it.
"I'm happy, I'm motivated to ride my bike, happy to be back racing and determined to be at my very best when it really matters - at the Tour de France."