Cavendish shows strong pre-Olympics form

Roger Vaughan, NZ Newswire July 21, 2012, 12:20 pm

CHATEAUROUX-DEOLS, France, July 21 AAP - Mark Cavendish's withering turn of speed to win stage 18 of the Tour de France also sent a chilling warning to rival nations ahead of the Olympics.

The in-form Cavendish looms as the favourite to win the road race gold medal on July 28, now just a week away, after the British world champion unleashed one of the best sprints of his storied career to win on Friday in Brive-la-Gaillarde.

He now has 22 stage wins in the Tour, equalling the most by a sprinter.

Cavendish is also favourite for the 250km road race in London - a day after the opening ceremony and one of the feature events of the Olympics.

But there is no guarantee it will come down to a sprint.

Each nation is only allowed a maximum of five riders, which will make it much harder for teams to execute the tactics that are so essential in road cycling.

The nine laps of the hilly Box Hill circuit in Surrey midway through the race will add to the difficulty.

Cavendish has intentionally shed weight to be ready for the road race and has climbed reasonably well during the Tour.

"It wasn't easy today, it's not been an easy Tour with a lot of tired legs and Cav was there, on that climb at the end when others had bailed out," said Sean Yates, the director of Cavendish's Sky team.

"It's going to be complicated - only five riders per team, I'm not sure.

"He has a fantastic chance, he's climbing well, he's obviously sprinting well - he has as good a chance as any."

The positive for Cavendish is that he will have a strong team around him.

His teammates will include impending Tour de France champion Brad Wiggins, second-placed Chris Froome and stage winner David Millar.

"The name that jumps out (as a main rival) is (Slovakian) Peter Sagan, but Cav is faster than him," Yates said.

"They have to get rid of Cav. Cav has a team built around him.

"It's not impossible that he can be brought back to the bunch by the likes of Bradley and David Millar."

Australia's main medal option is sprinter Matt Goss, but they have also picked a team with a couple of options to cater for different tactical scenarios.

Rugby

Results

2015 Super Rugby Tournament

2015 International Tests

2015 Super Rugby Tournament

2014/15 Aviva Premiership (ENG)

Schedule

2015 Super Rugby Tournament

7:35pm NZST Sat, 30th May
9:40pm NZST Sat, 30th May
3:05am NZST Sun, 31st May
5:10am NZST Sun, 31st May

2014/15 Aviva Premiership (ENG)

1:30am NZST Sun, 31st May

2015 International Tests

2:00am NZST Mon, 1st June

League

Live

2015 NRL Premiership Season

0
Live
Cbus Super Stadium

Results

2015 NRL Premiership Season

2015 NRL State of Origin

2015 NRL Premiership Season

Schedule

2015 NRL Premiership Season

7:30pm NZST Sat, 30th May
9:30pm NZST Sat, 30th May
4:00pm NZST Sun, 31st May
6:00pm NZST Sun, 31st May

Tennis

Schedule

2015 Hopman Cup XXVII

2015 French Open

2:00am NZST Sat, 30th May
2:00am NZST Sat, 30th May
2:00am NZST Sat, 30th May
2:00am NZST Sat, 30th May
2:00am NZST Sat, 30th May
2:00am NZST Sat, 30th May
2:00am NZST Sat, 30th May
2:00am NZST Sat, 30th May
2:00am NZST Sat, 30th May

Football

Live

2014/15 Australian W-League

ET (02:00)
Live
Melbourne 0 (4)
Canberra 0 (4)
Kardinia Park Live Scores

Results

2014/15 Belgian Pro League

Mechelen 2 - 1 Charleroi (FT)

2014/15 UEFA Europa League

2015 AFC Champions League

Schedule

2014/15 Italian Serie A

31 May 2:00am
31 May 4:45am

2014/15 English FA Cup

Arsenal v Aston Villa

31 May 2:30am