Cavendish happy for rare sprint chance

Mark Cavendish (Team Dimension Data website)
Mark Cavendish (Team Dimension Data website)

Carcassonne - Mark Cavendish has happy memories of Montpellier as the Tour de France 11th stage is set to finish there on Wednesday.

The Manx Missile won a sprint stage in the Mediterranean town in 2011 and he will be looking to notch up yet another Tour stage victory on Wednesday.

He's crossed the finish line first three times already at this Tour, taking his career total up to 29 stage wins but the 31-year-old Briton is eager for more on the 162.5km mostly flat run from Carcassonne.

Following Tuesday's 10th stage that started in Andorra, Cavendish said he was relieved to be rediscovering flatter terrain.

"Well, that was the last of the Pyrenees today. Won't miss them! Hopefully a nice little sprint on the cards tomorrow," he wrote on Twitter at the end of Tuesday's stage.

There are few opportunities left for the sprinters before the peloton reaches Paris, with Cavendish saying on Monday's rest day that he thinks there will only be two more chances.

But Wednesday's stage will be anything but straight-forward, with winds of up to 70kph expected on the route.

"When you're here & woken by the wind banging the window shutters, it's not likely to be a calm day on the bike!" added Cavendish on Twitter.

In the Pyrenees he spent time simply trying to hold on and get to the finish line inside the time limit.

But Wednesday's stage is one where the sprinters' teams, including Cavendish's Dimension Data outfit, will likely take no chances with the day's breakaway, never letting them far off the leash.

And it won't just be about Cavendish on the road to Montpellier where German Andre Greipel won most recently in 2013.

Greipel has not had a good Tour so far this year after his best yet in 2015 when he won four stages, including the last on the Champs Elysees in Paris.

He took second place to Cavendish on the third stage Angers, losing out by an inch in a photo-finish.

But that's as good as it's been for the Lotto-Soudal sprinter.

Like Cavendish, though, he was glad to put the mountains behind him, although he particularly did not enjoy Tuesday's stage beginning with a long climb up to the Tour's highest point this year - the Port d'Envalira in Andorra at 2 400-metres above sea level.

"The good thing about a 24km climb at the start from @LeTour stage 10 was that I could eat my breakfast twice...#onthelimit," joked Greipel on Twitter.

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