Mark Cavendish eyes ‘ample’ sprint opportunities at Tour de France

'For sprinters, if they can survive the mountains then they have ample opportunities for bunch sprints,' Cavendish says.

Photo: Alex Broadway/Getty Images

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Mark Cavendish believes that there are between seven and eight chances for sprinters in the 2023 Tour de France.

The British sprinter was speaking in Paris after watching race organizers ASO unveil the full routes for both the Tour de France Hommes and Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift.

Cavendish is tied for the all-time record of stage wins with Eddy Merckx. Both men are on 34 wins a piece, and Cavendish is aiming to break the record at next year’s race.

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The Tour de France route for next year’s men’s race starts in the Basque Country on July 1 and, despite a dearth of time trialing in the race and eight mountain stages, there are several opportunities for the sprinters.

“The Tour de France is always hard. It’s the Tour de France. It’s the biggest and most incredible bike race on the planet. Both the Tour de France and Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift provide opportunities for everyone,” Cavendish told the media.

“Brutal stages but also great bunch sprints, and time trials. I think that the start is going to be the hardest one I’ve seen in my career but exciting and it’s going to be a good show. It will change things up with the GC riders dictating things pretty early on rather than setting into it.”

Cavendish brushed off a question from the media when asked about attempting the break Merckx’s record. Right now there are no guarantees that he will have a team for next year. He is out of contract at Quick-Step, while a move to Jerome Pineau’s Paris project has not yet materialized with concerns over a lack of funds and no sign of a major sponsor coming on board yet. The team was meant to have a press conference in Paris on Wednesday but the event was canceled with less than 48 hours’ notice.

After not answering the question regarding Merckx, Cavendish was asked about the sprint chances at the Tour for next year, Cavendish replied.

“For sprinters, if they can survive the mountains then they have ample opportunities for bunch sprints. Long boulevard finishes with more than a kilometer of normal straight. It will make exciting days all round. There are maybe seven or eight sprint opportunities. It’s a lot. And real sprint opportunities.”

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