Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) took an emphatic victory from a three-up sprint at the British national championships, on a course and in conditions reminiscent of a Spring Classic.
“Quite often I sit and have to sprint, but I enjoy racing, it’s why I started, and this course gave me the possibility to do that,” Cavendish said after the podium ceremony. “We have a lot of good Classics style riders in the Great Britain right now and to be able to race like that with these guys, it was pretty special.”
The 37-year-old’s performance has inevitably stirred up Tour de France selection rumours, and the man himself was only too happy to indulge the media.
“I haven’t had a call from the team one way or the other,” he said plainly. “I’ve trained as if I’m going to the Tour, you can see my condition is there, I know if I went, I’d win.
“Imagine getting the 35th Tour de France stage in the British champs jersey, it would be pretty beautiful.”
Cav has had a pretty busy year up until now. After a busy spring, the Manxman made a return to the Giro d’Italia after nine years away – interestingly he went on to win the British champs in 2013 too – and sprinted to victory on stage 3. Unlike many of his sprinting rivals, he completed the Italian Grand Tour and barely took a moment to catch his breath before taking on a couple of minor Belgian races.
50 race days into his season he’s earned a break, and the chances are he’ll get it given his team’s decision to commit to Fabio Jakobsen at the Tour. However, there’s only one place Cav wants to be in July, and who can blame him as reigning green jersey winner, not to mention the temptation of a record-breaking 35th stage win.
Incidentally, the last time he went to the Giro and the last time he won the national title was in 2013, and he went on to win two stages in France that year.
“I came good out of the Giro and I’m going so much better than last year, and you know what happened last year – I won 4 stages of the Tour de France and the green jersey,” Cavendish said. “It’s unlikely I’m going to the Tour de France so I might as well use it today and at least show that the reason I’m not going to the Tour is not because I’ve got bad form.”